Harbor Commission Hints at Beautification Efforts

August 30, 2018
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Residents strolling along the Atlantic Highlands promenade could soon have covered picnic tables to rest at as part of several beautification projects introduced by John Amici, harbor manager, in August. By Chris Rotolo

By Chris Rotolo |

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The sound of waves lapping up against vessels docked in the historic Atlantic Highlands harbor creates a sense of serenity.

It’s a favorite destination for local residents like Lucie Cunnif and Kevin Mahoney, who often stroll along the harbor’s promenade during the warm weather seasons.

“I enjoy the peace and quiet and relaxation of this area,” said Cunniff, an Atlantic Highlands resident who was curled up on a harbor bench with an electronic book July 28. “But peace and quiet and a cappuccino would be nice, too.”

Despite her wishes, Harbor Manager John Amici said in an Aug. 21 interview with The Two River Times that there are no immediate plans to bring any other contracted vendors to the promenade, as the commission does not want to create any more competition in the area. The harbor’s current waterfront restaurant tenants are On the Deck and Sissy’s Place.

However, Amici did say that other upgrades to the Atlantic Highlands marina, those that will make it a “more inviting place,” are in the works.

During the Aug. 7 Harbor Commission meeting, Amici made a broad strokes presentation of promenade beautification projects that would “make the harbor pop.”

Some ideas included installing covered picnic tables, an inscribed brick paver fundraiser program – similar to the one established on the promenade across the street from the Shore Casino – and placing bike racks that are as decorative and eye-catching as they are functional.

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Since the waterfront is close to the mouth of the scenic Bayshore Trail that links Atlantic Highlands and Highlands, Middletown resident Harmony Kerr said it would be helpful to have bike racks – decorative or otherwise – available.

“The ones in the area now are inland by the tennis courts and the gazebo and park. But there isn’t really a great spot to lock up your bike down there. It would make it a lot easier for me if there were,” Kerr added after her July 21 bike ride.

The municipality’s neighboring borough of Highlands has done a nice job of providing that service, said Atlantic Highlands Borough Administrator Adam Hubeny.

“They’ve put these decorative boat anchors around town that people can fasten their bikes to,” Hubeny said. “We really love the idea and what it’s done to brighten up that community.”

The new umbrella-covered picnic tables installed along the waterfront would be a nice place to pause with a coffee, sandwich or ice cream, said Mahoney, a Middletown resident who was walking his dog on the promenade July 28. “There are a couple restaurants here, but if you want to enjoy the weather and the views, right now you have to walk at least three blocks into town to get something quick to eat or drink. It’s just not convenient.”
According to Hubeny, the administration’s objective for the harbor and promenade is to continue to make cost-effective upgrades when opportunities are available, growing the allure of the area.

“Our harbor is a beautiful place and a point of pride for our town. We’d like to draw more people to it and share it with as many visitors as we can,” Hubeny added.

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This article was first published in the August 23-30, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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