Atlantic City takes new step in Hurricane Sandy recovery -

Atlantic City takes new step in Hurricane Sandy recovery

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After experiencing the lows of Hurricane Sandy, Eileen Benner's home and spirit received a lift Tuesday afternoon.

"Amazing, just amazing. I can’t even really put into words how it was then and how it will be," said Benner.

Benner's home is being raised several feet after a foot of floodwater took its toll on her house during the storm. The work, which began Monday morning, is also a milestone for the city.

"There’s only been one permit issued, for a house elevation in Atlantic City and this is it right there," said owner of Baumgardner Construction, Andrew Baumgardner.

Tuesday, Benner’s home became the first post–Hurricane Sandy house raising in Atlantic City according to workers. After receiving $30,000 from insurance, and possibly more from pending grant applications, Benner's family pulled up a chair to watch the work.

"The whole rebuilding process has changed my life personally" said Benner, "the people that have helped me have been phenomenal and this is all stuff you can replace, all this. But you can’t replace people so this has been huge."

A blue ribbon marked the ten foot base flood elevation minimum. After construction, Eileen’s house will go from about three and a half feet below this line, to about two feet above it.

"Your below that base flood elevation, your insurance is going to skyrocket,” said Baumgardner. “Eventually it will get to the point where you paying the cost of an elevation over ten years."

Baumgardner says the house raising has been a rewarding experience and expects more house raising projects to begin taking place in the city as grants and insurance money become available.

As Eileen pushed the lever on the final raising, she looked ahead to life in her new and improved home.

"I'm going to sit out on my front porch and enjoy that raised view of an incredible sunset."

Workers with Baumgardner Construction say they also expect Eileen to receive a thirty thousand dollar grant to help cover the cost of the project later this year.

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