Bestows 2014 merit award on Bradley Beach project

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Planning Board presented the Bradley Beach Maritime Forest Creation and LakeStabilization project with their 2014 Planning Merit Award at their Dec. 15 meeting. 

“This innovative, nature-based resiliency project was spearheaded by the American Littoral Society and involved a significant number of partners, volunteers and funding sources,” Planning Board Chairman Vince Domidion said. “Over the course of a few days, a once barren 0.4 acre lot located between FletcherLake and the boardwalk was transformed into a thriving wildlife habitat with a walking path that connects the boardwalk to the Ocean Avenue.”

A maritime forest consists of a narrow band of trees and shrubs that once developed naturally on stabilized backdunes, however, these rare coastal ecosystems have nearly disappeared in New Jersey.

“This project can serve as a model for other coastal communities,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Planning Board. “It offers a nature-based technique for reducing potential future storm damage to our coastal lakes that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy.” 

Bradley Beach resident Captain Aleksandr Modjeski lead the project team that included Jim Shissias of the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, John Bauer, Monmouth County Master Gardeners, William Sciarappa, Monmouth County Agricultural Agent and Rutgers Cooperative Extension, John Weber, Bradley Beach Environmental Commissioner and Surfrider and from the American Littoral Society, Tim Dillingham, Executive Director and Kathleen Gasienica, President of the Board of Trustees.

Two other projects were recognized with Honorable Mention certificates:

  • The Gregory Senior Residences, developed by the Long Branch Housing Authority and Maestro Community Development was recognized for the adaptive reuse of the historic GregorySchool in Long Branch.
  • “Rebuilding UnionBeach” exhibited an unprecedented move by a municipality to seek funding to assist residents with replacing their private homes in a storm resilient, eco-friendly, and financially sustainable way.

“The Gregory Senior Residences provided a fine example of how environmental sustainability and historic design sensitivity could be combined in an adaptive reuse project,” Freeholder Serena DiMaso, also liaison to the Planning Board. “‘Rebuilding UnionBeach’ helped secure $2.4 million of grant funding into a municipality where 85 percent of the homes were flooded with more than two feet of water during Superstorm Sandy.” 

“This innovative project has already helped more than a dozen families return to homes in the Borough,” added Burry.

Established in 1984, the Monmouth County Planning Board’s Planning Merit Award Program has recognized more than 100 projects in MonmouthCounty.

The awards honor plans, projects, individuals and municipalities that have significantly influenced planning in the county. Among the criteria are the ability to demonstrate leadership in planning, use of innovative design, conformity to state and county plans, the reflection of public-private cooperation and the compatibility with the surrounding area.