Back to the Drawing Board on Belmar’s Beach Pavilions
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said the Borough will reach out to the community for ideas on how to fund the rebuilding of its two Boardwalk Pavilions damaged during Sandy, after voters rejected a plan to bond $7 million-dollars for the construction. A lawsuit by a group of concerned citizens who felt the work could be done at a less expensive cost forced the issue to referendum in a special election this week. The bond approved in May By Doherty and the majority of council included construction of the Howard Roland 10th Avenue Pavilion and the John Taylor Fifth Avenue Pavilion.
“The first step is to reach out to the community and find ideas and suggestions as to rebuilding the pavilions, what they would prefer to see, as opposed to what was proposed,” said Doherty. The information will be posted on the Municipal website for public comment.
Belmar Councilman Jim Bean has accused Doherty of withholding information about the inside layout of the 10th Avenue Safety Pavilion and suggests putting funds from the Buy-A-Board Campaign towards the boardwalk bond, which he said is where it legally belongs.
“Neither one of those are true,” Doherty refuted, explaining, “The Buy-A-Board money was privately donated from people who helped rebuild the boardwalk and the Dedication By Rider that we did. The Council voting in favor of it, allowed us to use that for any capital expenses up on the beach front.” He said that could include lighting, railings, the boardwalk itself, the pilings and pavilions. As far as withholding information, Doherty said the plans that were bid on have been on the Municipal website since January for public viewing.
Doherty expects the process of gathering public ideas on the project to take a few months.
The next Council Meeting is Tuesday, September 9th.