The transfer of real estate approved this week is the latest step completed in the process of acquiring the Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property in Ortley Beach by Toms River Township.
At a township council meeting Tuesday night, the governing body voted unanimously to appropriate $685,000 from the Open Space Trust Fund toward the acquisition of two parcels that will be purchased under the state’s Blue Acres program. The figure represents the township’s share of the $7.3 million buyout that will turn the famed nightclub, destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, into a public beach that will feature an expanded boardwalk.
The council introduced the ordinance at its last meeting in July. It was adopted Tuesday night without any opposition.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Councilman Josh Kopp. “This project started before some of us were even up here, and I fully support this.”
Councilwoman Maria Maruca, who represents Ortley Beach, called the passing of the ordinance “one step toward the acquisition of the Surf Club property.”
The remainder of the purchase beyond the township’s share will be funded by the state Department of Environmental Protection as well as Ocean County’s $1.88 million dollar pending purchase of township-owned land located next to Cattus Island Park and the Ocean County College. The sale of land to the county was approved by the council in January.
Officials have characterized the Surf Club property as one of the few – if not the only – remaining opportunities to acquire oceanfront space for public use along the entire New Jersey coastline.