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Long Branch Will Charge Admission At New Beach This Summer

LONG BRANCH: Takanassee Beach will no longer be a free as the council has decided to staff it with lifeguards and badge checkers this summer.

Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said the decision was made after the number of people who attend the beach continued to grow last year.

"There's a lot of people on that beach, last year we put guards and did not charge admission," Woolley said. "Because of the number of people who go on here, I don't think we have any other option but to put guards there."

He said the safety of the bathers is also a concern.

"We had a number of saves there last year, so it's a good thing we had the guards there from a public safety point of view, but we can no longer afford to subsidize that," Woolley said. "In order to cover our costs, we need to charge."

Adding lifeguards carries a price tag of about $20,000 and the city will also have to rake the beach and pick up garbage. Woolley said that the intermittent beach closures that will be occurring throughout the summer due to boardwalk construction may allow the city to move staff around to cover the new expenses.

The area east of the high tide line belongs to the city, the remainder of the property belongs to a developer who has sealed off the breach at the lake and has begun making other improvements in preparation of building housing near the lake and facing the ocean.

Woolley said he initially thought the beach would not be able to be open to the public this summer do to the ongoing construction, but that the work was moved more quickly than expected and that access will be allowed.

Long Branch Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Stanley Dziuba beachgoers will still be able to access the area via a path along the northernmost edge of the property. The developer will also put in a small lot for beach patrons, and the rest will continue to park along Lake Takanassee.

Councilwoman Kathleen Billings said she felt there would a decrease in the amount of people who use the beach once it is no longer free, but that she supported the decision.

Animals and alcohol will not be allowed on the beach once the city begins charging admission in a few weeks.

Read more from: Long Branch

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