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Sea Bright ready to move forward on buildings

By KENNY WALTER
Staff Writer

SEA BRIGHT — With the successful referendum in the books, the Borough Council is moving forward with plans to construct a new municipal complex and community center with a beach pavilion.

During the Oct. 4 meeting,  Mayor Dina Long said  that the Sea Bright administration has begun meeting with architects and requesting bids, and a committee will recommend an architect in the coming weeks.

Councilman Charles Rooney III said with the referendum behind them, it is time for the borough to begin moving forward on the projects.

“We need to move forward, we need to pay attention to what we’re doing with the numbers, and I’m very proud of what we did here,” he said.

During a Sept. 27 special election, residents supported the three referendum questions by more than double, which if rejected, would have invalidated nearly $13 million worth of bonds, leaving the borough to start from scratch on plans to rebuild the buildings damaged during superstorm Sandy. However, Rooney said he expects the final cost to come in below the $13 million threshold.

Rooney said he was impressed by the way the two sides of the referendum presented their arguments, as well as the voter turnout.

“A lot of energy, a lot of good stuff on both sides,” he said. “I was concerned that we would be able to get the message out to everybody to get them out to vote, and we did get the message out.

“I would say if you didn’t know there was a referendum and you live in Sea Bright, then you are pretty disconnected from this town. We had over 500 voters on a Tuesday in September and it was overwhelming.”

During the meeting Long also announced the long-delayed streetscape project can finally move forward, as a holdup with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) has been cleared.

“We finally awarded the bid for the streetscape project,” Long said. “We finally gotten indication from the DOT that we’re getting our Highway Occupancy Permit, so we actually are able to move forward according to the schedule that we outlined, and we can hopefully see work starting on the streetscape project.”

In 2014, the borough was also awarded a $1.34 million state grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for streetscape improvements for pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and aesthetics with pedestrian-level lighting and seating and signage along Ocean Avenue.

The council passed a resolution awarding LandTek Construction with a $1.1 million contract for the streetscape project.

Also during the meeting, Doug Rice, founder of the Sandy Hookers Triathlon Club and Split Second Racing, presented the Sea Bright Recreation Trust Fund with a $5,000 donation. Rice said the funds came from sponsors and athlete donations.

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