Bradley Beach Decides Against Purchase of Main Street Property

By PETE WALTON

The Bradley Beach Borough Council has rejected a plan to buy the site of a former auto repair business for use as a parking lot.

At its regular meeting earlier this week, the council voted 3-2 against the allocation of $850,000 to buy the Autotek property at 811 Main St. and convert it into 28 parking spaces.

Most of the money for the purchase, demolition of the building and conversion into a parking lot would have been raised by a bond issue.

Mayor Gary Engelstad was joined by Councilman John Weber in support of the proposal. Councilmen Norman Goldfarb, Randy Bonnell and Dr. Harold Cotler voted no.

Cotler voted with Engelstad and Weber to introduce the ordinance at the council’s July 24 meeting. Cotler said he did so in order to further discussion on the borough’s downtown parking shortage.

At this week’s meeting, Bonnell distributed photo illustrations of an alternative which would create approximately 50 new parking spaces split between the north and south ends of town at approximately the same cost as the Autotek purchase.

Bonnell’s plan would not take any private property off the tax rolls.

Under his proposal, part of the former DeLisa site owned by the borough at the north end of Main Street would be used to create approximately 25 parking spaces. Another 25 or so would be located at the public works and recreation area at the south end of town.

Cotler said the high price of the Autotek site was the deciding factor in his decision to vote against the purchase. He said $30,000 was too much to pay for a parking space.

“It’s a very high price tag,” Goldfarb said. “A number of other ideas are out there.”

The other ideas include the addition of new spaces along Main Street and changing several 15-minute spaces in front of the municipal building to two-hour spots.

Additional evening parking was created recently in the municipal lot when signs indicated that employee-only parking spots were available for public use outside of borough business hours.

Resident Thomas J. Coan congratulated the council for not falling for the “transit village trick,” as he called it. Coan said Asbury Park officials made their city’s parking problems worse by obtaining designation by the state as a “transit village,” relieving developers from having to provide sufficient off-street parking for new projects.

Engelstad announced that summonses will be issued beginning Aug. 29 if trash is mixed with recycling materials, or if plastic bags are included in recycling containers. Warnings will be issued during the next two weeks.

Due to weather conditions on the initially planned date, the reopening celebration at Riley Park has been rescheduled for Sat., Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. The park was closed for several months while improvements were made.

This weekend, ahead of the official reopening, the Bradley Beach Tourism Commission will sponsor Spicy Saturday at Riley Park with a salsa tasting contest from 5 to 9 p.m. and live Latin music from 7 to 9 p.m.

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