August 2015 Ocean County~ Its been awhile since the north east took a super storm beating, carving a path of destruction, leaving people with out homes power or shelter, pummeling the wild life, dumping cars in the bay and floating boats down the highway. As the summer of 2015 winds down some folks still are not home, some houses still stand abandoned and small business are in limbo.In the wake of relief funds, FEMA intervention, insurance claims and legal complications, one family who have anchored shore tourism since the 1950s, still feels lost in the flood.
The Scarpa family defined family fun at the shore. Icons like PlayLand, Sure Shot Golf, and Fred’s Peds made time off the beach almost as fun as on. The Sugar Shack, run by Charlie and Linda Scarpa, stood on 2nd Avenue in Ortley Beach for 29 years, until October 29th 2012. It was the spot in Ortley that everyone knew. You needed something, were hungry, lost a kid, found a kid, needed first aid, dinner recommendations or sunscreen; if you need it, they had it.
Nothing could stop the force of nature that took it down, and now nearly three years later, it seems a heck of a lot is standing in the way of it rebuilding it back up. Before the first nail was hammered, a mountain of paperwork, grant applications, legal documentation, approvals, assessments, certificates and inspections have created delays and redirections. Such delays could affect grant support and have put pressure on the builders, the Scarpa's, and frankly their bank account.
If you visited Ortley this summer, there in front of the original location of the Sugar Shack stood a folding table and umbrella shielding a selection of snacks, drinks and Ortley Summer 2015 shirts from the sun. The Scarpa’s rotate manning the table. There is always a steady flow of patrons and everyone of them offered gratitude for the family’s dedication and encouragement for their return. Just behind them is what hopefully will become the new Sugar Shack
Now, with another deadline looming over Charlie’s head, he waits with optimism and concern for another regulation to pass and construction to resume. This family never came up short in stamina, or dedication to the place they called home for decades. They have a town of passionate folks behind them, that outnumbers the obstacles before them. Though there are just a few weeks left of summer, the love he has for his livelihood and the place he calls home never fades.
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