A survey recently completed by a group of Bradley Beach residents shows that over 80 percent of respondents said that they strongly favor building a community center in the borough.
A report of the survey’s results, sponsored by the not-for-profit organization, “Friends of the Bradley Beach Community Center,” provided insights into services that such a center could offer to the public. It also attempted to measure the public’s support for transforming the Methodist Church building on LaReine Avenue – which the borough acquired over a year ago – into a new community center.
The president of the not-for-profit, Paul Neshamkin, stated: “It’s wonderful to see such strong support for the idea of building a Community Center in Bradley while, at the same time, preserving one of Bradley Beach’s few remaining historic buildings.”
According to Neshamkin: “The Methodist Church building was constructed in 1900, on land donated by the borough’s founder, James A. Bradley, and sits in the geographic center of Bradley Beach – providing easy access for all residents.”
The survey posed questions to the public, asking respondents to rate “degree of importance” on a scale of “1” to “5” where “1” is “Not Important” and “5” is “Most Important”. Survey scoring combined only the totals of responses of a “4” (Very Important) and “5” (Most Important). 189 surveys were completed representing approximately 450 people, and results demonstrate strong support for this effort.
Favorable ratings and written feedback far outweighed unfavorably, Neshamkin said. For example, only 24 “unfavorable” comments were received across 189 surveys, or 13 percent. Favorable” comments included pleas to save the building and to offer “community” services to support seniors and children, while “unfavorable” comments focused upon concerns about the potential cost of the project and parking.
The survey showed that 96 percent of the respondents were residents of Bradley and 89 percent were over age 45. Approximately one-third of those responding identified themselves as seniors. For the following “Degree of Importance” questions, the strongest support levels (i.e., combining “Very Important” and “Most Important” responses) were for “Developing the Community Center” (82 percent) and “Saving a historic building” (74 percent). While interest in many services was captured, the highest levels of interest in specific categories of services including “Community Fun Activities” (79 percent); Performing Arts (78 percent); Volunteer Organizations (78 percent), and “Seniors” activities (74 percent). Many additional suggestions for possible services were submitted in write-in comments.
The preface to the survey report invites the reader to visit the sponsor’s Facebook page and website and states the hope that this effort can “strengthen our true sense of Community and hopefully recapture some of the community spirit enjoyed in Bradley Beach decades ago.”