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Roller coaster submerged during Sandy won't stay as 'tourist attraction'

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Waves are seen on Nov. 16 breaking around a roller coaster destroyed during Superstorm Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.

A crumpled roller coaster partially submerged in the Atlantic Ocean off of New Jersey's boardwalk won't stay there as a "tourist attraction," despite the town's mayor advocating for that a week ago.

The iconic Star Jet roller coaster in Seaside Heights was destroyed when Sandy crashed ashore Oct. 29, wrecking parts of Casino Pier and tearing the coaster from the boardwalk.

On Monday, Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers said that borough officials and Casino Pier owners have been in talks to remove the coaster from the ocean, where it has sat since the storm, reported The Asbury Park Press.

Akers got criticized when he told NBC New York last week that he was working with the Coast Guard to see if the ride was stable enough to just leave as-is. 

If it was, he said, it would make "a great tourist attraction."

Mario Tama / Getty Images

The destroyed roller coaster is seen in Seaside Heights, N.J., on Oct. 31.

His comments came after demolition crews finished removing the rest of the damage in the area in preparation for businesses to rebuild on the boardwalk, the town's financial and communal beating heart.

“Everyone all over on Facebook was commenting on it and took a shot at me,’’ Akers said, according to The Asbury Park Press. 

On Monday, Akers tried to clarify his "tourist attraction" remark.

"I told them [NBC New York], that I did not have an issue with it [staying], it’s not my decision since its private property,’’ Akers said to The Asbury Park Press. “That was the extent of my comment, and then all of this firestorm. It was not the brightest comment.’’

He added, “If it was going to stay, there are issues...  Does it have to be anchored down properly? And the Coast Guard would need to approve it. The whole situation is unfortunate.’’

According to Akers, tourism makes up 75 percent of Seaside Heights' budget, with the remaining 25 percent coming from property owners. 

“Our biggest concern is returning the boardwalk to where it was before the storm,’’ he told The Asbury Park Press. “Tourism is the lifeblood of this town."

Construction of a new boardwalk is scheduled to begin in January and be ready by Memorial Day, according to NBC New York. Casino Pier officials are still assessing the cost of the damage.

Courtesy Joel A. Rogers of CoasterGallery.com

An archival image of the Star Jet is seen at the Casino Pier, N.J., in 2007.

The now-defunct Star Jet roller coaster was built in 2002 by Portland, Ore.-based E&F Miler Industries. It replaced a decades-old roller coaster that had been in its spot and was demolished to make room for the new steel one, Fred Miler, principal of E&F Miler, told NBC News on Tuesday.

The ride had a maximum height of 52 feet, according to coastergallery.com.

Its name, Miler said, has caused some confusion.

"It's called the Star Jet," he said. "There was another coaster there that it replaced -- it was called the Jet Star. Sometimes they still use that name."

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