Asbury Radio - The Radio Voice of Asbury Park

December 8, 2006


December 6, 2006 AP Council Meeting


Loffredo Absent, Sanders present


Main topic - Springwood Avenue Redevelopment Plan & Redevelopment Agreement


City Redevelopment Dir. Don Sammet called it a "homegrown plan", reflecting 12 points that the 23-member committee used. The council had planned to schedule a 30-day review process, but public and committee sentiment led to the decision to allow two full months for review and public input. The vote will not take place until the second council meeting in February.


Sammet described the plan as "promoting the interests and meeting the needs of all the town's residents," not just now, but for generations to come.


The plan will meet 11 sub-goals, he said:


Job establishment

Required use of local labor

Housing for all income levels: 20% of new units must be affordable

No payment in lieu of taxes or buy outs in return for units; incentives to be negotiated in the redevelopment agreement

Entertainment and culture

Recreational opportunities, including outdoor competitions

Parks and open spaces to build and foster relationships

New modes of Transportation

Bus shelters

Bike Paths

Connect the redeveloped area with the rest of the city

Energy efficiency

Hi design standards

Quality, sustainable materials

No ugly mechanical features showing

Pedestrian safety, lighting, large windows

Partnerships to implement vision/ develop vision

Provide for areas of public art, because it inspires pride and lends character

Plan will dovetail with Neptune's plans for area; meeting with Neptune Dec. 13th

Directional signs - to help people orient themselves and feel more comfortable in their surroundings


Tom Gilmour, the city's commerce director, commended council-members James Keady and Ed Johnson on their work on the committee, as well as the rest of the committee. Then he quickly plunged into the need for a massive marketing and public relations campaign, which will include "a much needed update" of the current marketing program, and encompass Asbury Park's 110th anniversary. A large special event will be held in April, which will include the Taste of Asbury event and the Farmers' Market.  Gilmour wasted no time in announcing the winners of the UEZ's search: Jewell Marketing, the city's current public relations source, and David Allen Enterprises, who provides most of the artwork for the First Saturday publicity. Gilmour said their campaign calls for a quarterly publication, called "The Vibe", and Keady asked that it be excerpted weekly and sent to the local media. Keady said the publicity effort should include and effort to improve community relations.


Gilmour asked the council to approve $80,000 for the new year and $84,000 for the subsequent year. The council approved the request.


City manager Terry Reidy commended Tamara Richardson, director of Asbury Works, for obtaining a $73,000 grant for the city's Employment Research Center, for which she had to certify her department as a state approved training center. The plan is for Richardson to work with the schools on a number of grants, said Reidy, which will run through Asbury Works.


The Committee on Homelessness has defined two categories: chronically homeless and transitional homelessness. The short term development plan is for all churches to get letters asking them to commit to the program and draft letters to the county, state and federal government asking for their help in coordinating a response to the problem of homelessness.


The city acquired the Flamingo Hotel, 200 1st Ave., under eminent domain. City Attorney Fred Raffetto said the hotel asked for the proceedings to go ahead. {Ed. Note:  Property owners in the waterfront redevelopment area can't sell to anyone other than the redevelopment rights holder; Asbury Partners.}


A long line of residents addressed the council during the public portion, the majority of whom expressed distrust for the Springwood Ave plan, some committee members themselves saying that they don't believe it's really community driven. Some urged the city to include an education process as well as the public input hearings.


One or two asked why the railroad plaza area, by the public works yard, wasn't included in the plan.


Rev. John D. Bradley, Sr., of the Truvine KP Full Gospel, in Neptune, president of the Asbury Park/Neptune Ministerial Alliance, said he doubted the process is moving forward, calling it the "illusion of moving forward."  The redevelopment plan is aimed to "benefit only a few," he charged.


Rev. Johnie Vause, Bethel AME Church, and secretary of the Alliance, called for "more than bricks and mortar," asking for "seeds" to replant the spirit of the west side.  He called for:

Extending the comment period

Adding the educational component to the input opportunity

Maximizing current stakeholders participation

Extending the boundaries to include the West Side Community Center, parking and infrastructure upgrades.

Identifying potential funding sources


Pat Fasano, a builder who has restored numerous properties in the downtown, as well as the Wonder Bar, the Baronet and the Fast Lane night club, said nothing is going to work from a commerce standpoint until the city's parking problems are addressed. The merchants renting his stores on Cookman can't afford to pay their rent, he said, because potential shoppers can't find parking spaces. Vito Salerno, of Carmine's restaurant, made a similar complaint.


The Asbury Park Little League has seen a marked increase in the number of children participating. They're having a major fund raising campaign and want to collect $38,000 for field improvements, lighting, safer bleachers and dugouts. They now need the commitment of the city council.


Rita Marano cautioned the governing body not to continue demolishing buildings in the town, which is stripping the city of ratables, with no new construction waiting in the wings.