“We want to work with you to get this issue resolved. We want a very informed decision made.”
-Wesley Lake Commission Chairwoman Gail Rosewater
Neptune Mayor Carol Rizzo said she hopes to schedule a meeting with Asbury Park officials to discuss the fate of two bridges across Wesley Lake that are locked at night from midnight to 5 a.m. The footbridges connect Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, a section of Neptune.
Rizzo said at this week’s Township Committee meeting that she is reaching out to Asbury Park officials to meet with her and other township officials to discuss the matter. A date has not yet been set. Asbury Park officials are arguing that locking the gates, which prevent public access from Asbury Park into Ocean Grove, may be illegal.
Rizzo said township officials are still in discussion about the gates, exploring options, and getting more information but the issue still divides the two communities.
“We want to work with you to get this issue resolved. We want a very informed decision made,” Wesley Lake Commission Chairwoman Gail Rosewater said.
Some Ocean Grove residents said they want the gates kept up for security reasons and to prevent Asbury Park patrons from parking in Ocean Grove, where parking is free.
Some said they have had items stolen off porches, people are noisy at night, and that the gates are a deterrent to criminals.
Other residents said they want the gates taken down and that they do nothing to prevent crime.
Asbury Park resident Barbara Lesinski said things have changed in Asbury Park since 1995, when the gates were installed.
“It was not good in Asbury Park then but things have changed. This is a public throughway and people should be able to walk across. There is no reason for it,” she said.
She suggested that modern surveillance technology should be used to monitor the bridges rather than closing them at night.
Longtime Neptune resident Teretha Jones, who remembers the gates being installed in 1995, said they are a “racial tactic.”
“This was a racist knee-jerk reaction due to misinformation. It was the perception that was jacked up,” she said.
She said the gates are not a crime deterrent, adding that that crime is no worse now than back in 1995.
Jones said that parking has always been an issue in both Asbury Park and Ocean Grove
“So, this has nothing to do with parking. It is what it is,” she said.