LITTLE SILVER: Uprooting an aging asphalt path and laying down dedicated, engraved brick pavers would not only beautify Little Silver but provide some fundraiser, said one resident who pitched the idea to council members this week.
The "Walkway of Memories" came up as an idea after resident Rick Brandt saw how excited friends in other towns were at the opportunity to "buy a board" and have their names inscribed on them as Jersey Shore municipalities rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy. "The first things my friends in Lavallette wanted to show me when I visited was the boardwalk that had their name on it," said Rick Brandt in his presentation.
The Little Silver borough portion of the walkway leading from Markham Place School to downtown Little Silver would go from an asphalt path to a brick path of engraved pavers.
Brandt said selling the chance to have a name or message engraved on the bricks, could bring in upward of $220,000 in profit, to help fund other projects in Little Silver.
Buy-a-brick campaigns were already in place elsewhere in the borough to fund renovation there, and are a proven method of fundraising, Brandt said. It would also drum up excitement and town pride, but also simply fund the upgrades to a pathway that needs it, he said.
"It's a beautiful, distinctive park enhancement," he said, "with a lifetime of community ownership."
He presented options of sandblasted, engraved clay bricks with a lifetime guarantee. One is 4 by 8 inches and fits three lines of text, which could be bought at $19 for the project and sold as a fundraiser for $50 per brick. An 8 by 8 inch version fits six lines of text and costs $29.50, sold as a fundraiser for $100.
The walkway is 237,600 square inches, which equates to 7,425 of the smaller brick or 3,713 larger bricks. The cost to remove the current walkway and install the new bricks is estimated at $11,200.
The cost of materials would be between $141,000 and $109,000 depending on the brick size chosen for the project. Selling the bricks at $50 or $100 a piece, and selling out, would net more than $220,000 profit, or upward of $257,000 profit in the small brick version.
Mayor and council were warm to the idea, but had some questions such as whether the project should turn a profit at all, and if it should be rolled out as bricks are sold or if installation should come after all bricks are sold.
Brandt said one timeline could be to begin marketing the buy-a-brick campaign in January, and end the selling period in 2017, then install the new pathway in summer 2018.
"People divorce, move, die, or all three," said Councilman Dane Mihlon. "I don't know if we should wait three years between the first day of sale and when it's installed."
Other questions arose over whether a local supplier was available, and if the cost of the project should be budgeted now and reimbursed by the sale of bricks, or if the borough should wait to budget after the sale is complete, but the council thanked Brandt for his presentation and would seek out the answers to its questions with public works staff and the borough clerk before voting on the project.