Now that most Weehawken families displaced by Hurricane Sandy are finally back in their homes, they are continuing to clean up, as is the township.
The town is working on its public parks, while St. Lawrence Church is also involved in a major effort. The church, Weehawken’s primary Catholic parish, is located in the downtown Shades area, the neighborhood most affected by the storm.
By Tuesday, cleaning crews had gutted the majority of its interior, but it has not yet been confirmed what damage, if any, was caused to the building itself.
“The church is empty now and the rectory is up and running,” said Mayor Richard Turner, “but someone will be checking the building. They’re bringing in a specialist to check on the stained glass as well.”
With most of the people back in their homes, he said, the township can now concentrate on things they need outside of the home.
Even an enormous tire from New York City’s Department of Public Works washed up.
The parks at Louisa Place and Boulevard East, Gregory Avenue and Highpoint Avenue, Highwood Avenue and Park Avenue, and the downtown park in the Shades have all reopened. The only park that has yet to reopen is the town’s brand-new waterfront park.
The park took a heavy dosage of debris during the hurricane but luckily suffered relatively little lasting damage. But Turner does not want to take any chances.
“Roseland Properties, the developer who built the park, is sending down some engineers to check the fields,” he said. “And we’ve got our own engineers looking as well. We just want to make sure they’re fine before we reopen the park.”
The park must also be cleaned. Sandy left a shoreline full of debris of all sizes, from several-ton beams to regular garbage. Even an enormous tire from New York City’s Department of Public Works washed up.
Last Friday, the city signed a $37,000 contract with Canete Landscape & Garden Center, which also specializes in large-scale cleanups, to do an extensive scourge of all Sandy-related debris in the park. The contract also includes power washing all playground equipment, cleaning out the now unusable restrooms and food stands, installing new mulch, mowing the lawns, and cleaning the astroturf on each field.
“The contract covers everything,” said the mayor. “The park will look the same as before.”
City officials confirmed that the park should reopen by Thanksgiving, barring any unforeseen complications.