BELMAR — The borough council plans to turn the former First United Methodist Church building into a community center for senior residents and a venue for scouting activities. Mayor Matthew Doherty proposed having a senior center occupy the first floor of the building, allowing the second floor as a permanent home for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to use. “The equipment in there is phenomenal, it has all been put in since [Superstorm] Sandy,” Mr. Doherty said. “It would allow us to finally have a senior center here in Belmar.” The church building, located on the corner of Seventh Avenue and D Street, continued to lose members and ceased services in 2016 according to Mayor Doherty. The church still owns the building, which means the borough will rent the space. The community food pantry will remain in use as it already occupies the back portion of the facility for its operation. According to the proposed lease, Belmar would be able to occupy the church through the end of 2018 with an option to renegotiate for another term. Mr. Doherty said the borough would not have to pay rent because the town’s Public Works Department would be in charge of maintenance inside the building. In October 2012, the building underwent extensive renovations after being hit by Superstorm Sandy. The boiler and roof still needs to be evaluated, according to Mr. Doherty.
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