LONG BRANCH:Since 2007, when the Save Ocean Avenue (SOA) citizens group and the city administration first met to put citizens’ concerns on the table, the mutual airing and understandings by both parties have led to significant improvements to the avenue and the boardwalk, says Dennis Sherman, spokesperson for SOA.
Since Hurricane Sandy efforts by SOA to get action on some of its recommendation have been unanswered, Sherman says. He said he has brought them to the council in the bi-monthly meetings, but Council is not responding. Sherman says the “reason together” posture of the groups had worked so well.
“Now it has changed,” Sherman said.
He feels the city is not listening or responding to inquiries.
The specific issues he notes are (from a flyer Sherman is posting around town):
• Add more benches at the north and south end of Ocean Ave.
• Replace the 6' cyclone fencing and sand bags with the lower rails. The zig-zag of the tall fencing eats up walk space and is extremely unsightly.
• Repair the ramp at Cottage Place so that it's usable until such time that it can be properly restored to meet ADA standards. According to the City, there have been no complaints about the ramp.
• Provide at least one shaded area between Pier Village and Brighton Ave. for the health and well-being of walkers and beachgoers.
• Replace broken pavers north of Pier Village using the Green Acres funds provided for this purpose.
• Replace the sand ramp at the Great Lawn entrance – carts are almost impossible to use at this extremely popular beach.
• Insure the safety of walkers, etc. considering all the bikers using the same paths during the summers
SOA will be at the Tuesday, April 8 Long Branch Council meeting which starts at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. Sherman hopes to get responses, or “perhaps a scheduled meeting as had been so productive in the past.”
Several council members have said they believe the issues have had a response. One member said they had spent a lot of time sharing the city’s plans and the reason for waiting. The Sandy financials are humongous, he said. It has taken significant time to learn how and when FEMA will help.
One particular concern voiced by Mayor Adam Schneider is that the city wants to do it right, and avoid the repetition of a future Sandy, if possible. He does not want to spend funds twice, if doing things too soon might cause it to happen.