Asbury Park – An overflow crowd of Asbury Park residents attended the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting in the city last evening to rally the county’s governing body to save the north end beachfront property known as Bradley Cove.
iStar Financial, the city’s master developer, owns the development rights to the site and has a proposal to build 15 town homes on the property. The Asbury Park Council passed a resolution earlier this month to apply for Green Acres funding to preserve the property.
The freeholders were sympathetic to the public outcry to prevent the development, but made it clear that the ball is in Asbury Park’s court. Prior Asbury Park administrations sold the development rights to the property and approved a tax abatement to support the development. Community members are now trying to undue that deal, and seem be hoping that Freeholder Board has the power to make that happen.
In a column in the current issue of the triCityNews, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry said that one of her opponents in the coming election was right when he accused Burry of not supporting “agricultural and farmland preservation in “coastal” towns. “It’s for the same reason I don’t support beach replenishment in Upper Freehold and Millstone. There aren’t any beaches there, just as there aren’t a lot of farms in Red Bank or Long Branch or Asbury Park.”
Burry points out that there in only one parcel in the region qualified for the farmland preservation program, in Long Branch, and that the owner of the property has not applied to sell the development rights to the program which is funded by municipal, county and state dollars.
At issue is beachfront property at the north end of Asbury Park that is slated for residential development. There is some vocal opposition to the proposed development and Democratic Freeholder candidate Joe Grillo is trying to jump on that band wagon to get traction in his fledgling campaign against Burry and Deputy Freeholder Director Gary Rich.
Enhanced enforcement is the best first step to addressing our crime issue in Asbury Park. With over 80 police officers in a City that is a little larger than one square mile, we should be better able to police our streets.
What has worked in other communities would also make me feel safer in my neighborhood; a clear strategy to deal with gang violence, police walking/biking the beat more often, and stricter code enforcement. As this is essentially police work, the Asbury Police Department must lead this effort. The development of a comprehensive plan should also involve the City Council, community activists, the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office, the State Police, and it must be made public.
As gang members commit our most violent crimes, a specific gang intervention component is key. This strategy must focus on putting the hardcore gang leaders in jail and lower level members into intervention programs outside of Asbury Park. A few model programs suggested by community members that have found success in other urban areas include the Highpoint Interventionstrategy, Counterinsurgency Cops that employ a block-by-block approach, Cities United, and Violence Interrupters.
Consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey, the crime on our streets has been more than ever on the minds of residents. In an effort to continue the discussion already underway in our community I will be sharing a few ideas that have helped me better grasp the issue as well as suggesting some possible actions. In a series of three letters I will address the fundamental underpinnings of crime, enforcement, and how to better support our community members.
Aristotle said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” To understand our crime issue, we must first understand the devastating role poverty plays in our community. The socio-economic and emotional impacts of poverty directly correlate with insufficient family and community support. This absence of adequate support limits options and makes it near impossible for our young people to succeed.
The Center for Disease Control publishes risk and protective factors for youth violence. The risk factors, such as low parental income and diminished economic opportunity, read like a laundry list of Asbury Park’s problems. Poverty not only increases the risk factors but also decreases protective ones. Our youth live in broken homes, substandard housing, and without basic services like simple healthcare. As a result many turn to gangs for protection, financial opportunity, and a sense of belonging. This American Life did a two-part special on Harper High School (part I & part II) in Chicago that illustrates the lack of options for poor minority youth in urban areas like Asbury Park. For too many, gang involvement and violence are a given, not a choice.
NEPTUNE – One night after two Asbury Park men were shot in the township, two more people were reportedly shot here on Monday night. Lt. Scott Cox of the Neptune Township Police Department told the Asbury Park Press that the latest shooting occurred…
ASBURY PARK – A Long Branch man was charged with possession of a weapon after he led police on a foot chase and tried to get rid of a handgun, authorities said. At around 3 p.m. on Saturday, the city’s Street Crimes Unit was on a proactive patrol…
ASBURY PARK – Authorities are investigating a shooting that injured three people, including a baby girl, in the city on Monday evening. Shortly after 7:20 p.m. Monday, authorities responded to reports of multiple gunshots on the 700 Block of Comstock…