Mayor Kanitra discusses Point Beach priorities

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Mayor Paul Kanitra is looking to the months ahead, but also taking some pride in the way the borough coped with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, his first year at the helm.

According to the mayor, even with the pressures of the pandemic, he is proud of the work the borough achieved. A few notable achievements included the hiring of a quality of life director, enforcing ordinances, cleaning up the borough and encouraging community involvement, the mayor said.  

Looking to 2021, Mayor Kanitra said the best is yet to come for the borough. 

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“We have so much coming in early 2021 and beyond, it’s incredible,” said Mr. Kanitra. 

“We just finalized the new senior committee and that will be starting up shortly,” he said. 

“We are introducing a new sign ordinance for downtown, so that businesses present themselves better to visitors,” he said. “No more ripped vinyl banners, sheet metal, etc. It’s going to encourage wood and faux wood signage to make downtown look the way it should.

“Additionally, in January we’re bringing forward a downtown historic overlay district that we’ve been working on for six months now,” said Mr. Kanitra. “It’s going to incentivize building owners to save historic properties, fix up facades and create a destination that people from all over New Jersey will want to come to outside of the summer months.”

Point Pleasant Beach will also be launching a business improvement district to evermore increase the borough’s shopping district. Going along with that plan, the mayor hopes to raise money for a “light canopy” over Arnold and Bay avenues to increase vibrancy after 5 p.m. 

The Kanitra administration will introduce master plan revisions with what he says is the first true plan for the future of all of Point Pleasant Beach. 

“We have a few huge initiatives in the works to bring more revenue into the borough’s accounts to help keep taxes low,” said Mr. Kanitra. “More services, more value with no more cost to residents.”

The mayor said he hopes borough residents can see for themselves a difference in Point Beach after this year.

“But give us just a few years more and Point Pleasant Beach is going to be winning award after award for how incredible we’re going to have things,” said Mr. Kanitra. “We’re building a town you all can be even more proud of.

“There are members of the council, town hall employees and volunteer first responders that are all owed a debt of gratitude for rising to the challenge in 2020,” he said. “I know I personally put a ton of work on everyone’s plates in addition to what was created from COVID and everything else that went on. I’m grateful to those that selflessly gave so much and our residents should be as well.”

Reflecting on 2020, Mayor Kanitra said, “That certainly was one hell of a first year to be at the helm, but I was incredibly proud of the job we all did. We rose to the occasion, let our actions speak for themselves, worked tirelessly and got the job done in very difficult conditions.”

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, borough officials followed strict guidelines set by Gov. Phil Murphy shutting down beaches, dining and more. 

“We provided our first responders all the tools they needed from the very start,” said Mr. Kanitra. “As things progressed, we made a concerted effort to help our business community the best we could, despite all the restrictions coming out of Trenton.”

“When something like this occurs, there’s no other choice but to step up and tackle everything head-on… People want steady leadership in a crisis that’s willing to make the tough calls,” said Mayor Kanitra. “We acted decisively with the emergency parking ban despite a mountain of pressure from those outside of town.”

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