The oceanfront boardwalk in Long Branch is an attractive destination for summer tourists and year-round residents, and it will be getting a facelift in 2012.
The Long Branch Council introduced a $950,000 bond ordinance during its Tuesday night meeting for improvements to the boardwalk between Morris Avenue and Brighton Avenue. The council is expected to adopt the ordinance at its Dec. 27 meeting.
The appropriations included a $421,000 grant from Green Acres for the project and a $421,000 loan from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP loan is zero interest and is repayable over 20 year according to Long Branch Chief Financial Officer Ron Mehlhorn.
The city is funding the remaining $107,400 of the project, according to ordinance.
"It's a great project and wouldn't have been able to do it without the Green Acres grant," Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said.
The boardwalk improvements include railing and decking replacement, repairs to paved areas, the installation of playground equipment on the beach at North Bath Avenue, the rehabilitation of the comfort station at North Bath Avenue and landscaping.
Woolley said the railing will be the same kind used on the boardwalk in Pier Village.
"It's good, because we can take it off and reattach it if we decide to widen the boardwalk in the future," Woolley said.
Woolley said the rehabilitation of the comfort station was important because the current building is "collapsing" and had to be closed last summer.
The council decided to improve the stretch of boardwalk from Morris Avenue to Brighton Avenue, because the of would include the improvement of the boardwalk from Morris Avenue to Melrose Terrace.
City Attorney James Aaron said the council could go out to bid for the project in March, 2012, and possibly finish the project before Memorial Day. If construction is not completed before Memorial Day, it would have to move into the fall of 2012.
Woolley said the city may apply for another Green Acres grant next year to try to fund oceanfront improvements north of and for the small parcel of land at the corner of Norwood Avenue and Bath Avenue would be to turn the area into a "passive park" with some trees and a decorative flag pole.
He said if the city did apply for the grant in early 2012, it would probably not learn whether or not it received until the end of next year.