BRADLEY BEACH — At the Bradley Beach Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 16, a resolution was rejected in a two-to-two vote with one council member abstaining.
The measure would have authorized T&M Associates to provide professional environmental and engineering services, bidding assistance and construction administration services for the demolition of the church building at 319 LaReine Ave.
Discussions have gone on for years regarding what the municipality should do with the site of the vacated First United Methodist Church.
The property was purchased by the borough for $1.4 million in 2020, in an effort to block its sale to a developer who planned to raze the structure and build houses. Then, in 2021, a debate ensued over the feasibility of a $10 million conversion of the facility into a multi-use community center. That idea was rejected by voters, 1,233 to 370, in a Nov. 8 referendum. After options of dividing and selling the lot and redevelopment failed to appease council and residents, the newest option on the table is demolition.
The demolition resolution failed in a split vote. Councilman John Weber recused himself; Councilwoman Jane DeNoble and Councilman Al Gubitosi voted “no;” and Mayor Larry Fox and Council President Meredith DeMarci voted “yes.”
“This is a tedious and difficult process. I don’t think we are going to get a better approach,” said Mayor Fox. “This is unfortunate that we are holding this up again.”
The issues with the resolution were brought up by Mr. Gubitosi, and included the lack of details provided in the proposal given by T&M Associates.
“We are talking about approving a $48,000 cap on expenditures,” said Councilman Gubitosi. He said that the borough has already paid the organization a quarter of a million dollars for their work on the property and he is unsure why the borough still needs them.
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