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Sea Bright Unveils Plans For 'Beachfront Community Center'

SEA BRIGHT: The borough is moving forward with a plan to build a "beachfront community center" to replace the pavilion, library and beach amenities that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Borough Administrator Joseph Verunni discussed the plans during a March 18 special workshop meeting of the Sea Bright Council.

The building would be located in the same area as the original beach pavilion, which is now in the southernmost portion of the municipal parking lot.

Verunni said the 2-story building will serve several functions.

"It can house the beachfront operations, it can host community groups and organizations in multi-use space, it provides for a library media center, it provides for additional public space for both large and small meetings," Verunni said. "And it's able to generate some income to sustain itself to provide for utilities and insurances so hopefully the building will be self-sustaining and provide the community with a lot of the functions that we heard about in the 20/20 visioning project."

It will also provide beach access, changing rooms, showers, bathrooms, and possibly locker rooms in the future.

Councilman Marc Leckstein said he even hoped to some day have a public pool at the facility.

The ground level will be used for storing things like beach lockers, beach stands or possibly snow plows. The first floor of the building, which will be level with the height of the new sea wall that will be built to the east of it, will have a beach office where badges can be purchased, multipurpose rooms, the library. The second floor will have another multipurpose area for meetings, storage space and a warming kitchen.

Verunni said the project would likely cost about $3 million but he is optimistic that FEMA will pay for 90 percent of the cost because the center will bring back borough functions that were lost due to Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Dina Long said the building originally had a higher price tag but various changes allowed for a "pared-down" project.

Councilman Brian Kelly, who helped get the project moving, said the it could receive approval from CAFRA in the next few weeks.

The council agreed to move forward with the conceptual design of the building and will make any necessary changes to it before submitting the designs to FEMA so their review process can begin.

Construction of the beachfront community center should be completed 18 months after the construction documents are completed, meaning that it could take about 2 years before it is finished.

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