Interview with William Gehlhaus, September 4, 2013

Gehlhaus, who is sixty years old, has owned Keansburg Amusement Park with his brother since 1995. Their grandfather opened the amusement park in 1905, their father sold the amusement park in 1973, and Gehlhaus and his brother bought the park back in 1995 and added a water park in 1996. To prepare for the storm they took apart as many rides as they could. They hoped that the berm and dune system would protect the area as it had in the past. Gehlhaus' home did not have much damage from the storm, but his brother and daughter suffered quite a bit. They lost one building in their amusement park. The berm had failed and the amusement park was covered in sand. Gehlhaus wasn't able to start the clean-up process until a few days after the storm. The berm and dune failed, and sand washed into the park. All the rides were covered sand, grass, and debris from the water. Gehlhaus and his brother had a contractor on site already to clean up the most of the slides and rides. The park's buildings had about four feet of water in them and needed to be gutted and outfitted with new electrical systems. Gehlhaus worked seven days a week through the winter get their park back in order, but when it was all finished he found that it was better than it had been before the storm. Gehlhaus did not receive much aid from FEMA but did have a lot of volunteers to help out. In the future, Gehlhaus and his brother are looking to keep the park in the family.

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