Contact: Cassandra Bernyk
TOMS RIVER, NJ--The reconstruction of the well known and loved Cattus Island nature center in Ocean County has begun and will open in summer 2016. Ever since the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the popular nature center has been closed due to the flooding. The doors were finally opened again to begin the road to recovery for the Cooper Environmental Center known for fun educational programs about the environment and home for various kinds of native animals. The $905,000 reconstruction will keep most of the original design while now meeting Americans with Disability Act standards and having the ability to withstand a super storm like Hurricane Sandy, say officials.
As of April 1, the demolition of the building’s interior is complete and the interior framing, all rough mechanical installations (which include HVAC, electric, and plumbing), are all about 90 percent complete. As Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr previously said, the hold up on reconstruction was due to permit complications that were essential to the project. Other reconstruction options were available to the county, however it was decided that the best option was to use storm-resistant materials. Seeing the reconstruction of the Cooper Environmental Center really being kicked off has residents and visitors anxious--as reflected in comments in the Cattus guestbook-- for the re-opening of their favorite place to learn about the environment surrounding them.