"Without tourism for even one summer, the businesses here will suffer tremendously," Doherty said. "It would be like working for a year but making no salary."
Marianne Piro said the boardwalk needs to be rebuilt.
"I've been here since I was a child, and my grandparents have been here since 1918," she said. "I walk this boardwalk. We need to have it here."
Belmar sent out a request for bids on Friday to companies interested in doing the work. The mayor said he hoped work could start by the end of the year, and predicted a new boardwalk will be in place before Memorial Day.
Doherty also said Belmar is looking into building a steel sea wall along the coast to help lessen the damage from future storms. It would consist of 4-foot-tall steel panels that would be plowed over with sand, and dunes planted atop them.
Both the sea wall and the higher beach badge fees will be voted on at a future meeting.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC