By Vincent Ferrer
SEA BRIGHT – Despite the dreary weather, Saturday, Jan. 5, marked a shining moment for the seaside town of Sea Bright.
Politicians, law enforcement and members of the public gathered for a solemn celebration at the Borough Council’s reorganization meeting, the first-ever meeting held at the top floor of the newly constructed Beachfront Pavilion and Library.
The airy three-story building with large windows overlooking the ocean, designed to house the borough beach patrol, an oceanfront library and public bathrooms, represents a major step forward for a once storm-torn town. After Super Storm Sandy, the council promised to rebuild and return the coastal borough to its former glory. “Now, six years later, that promise has been kept,” said Marc Leckstein, council president, in his year-end address.
As a symbol of united support for the town, state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon Jr. and members of Monmouth County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders presented Mayor Dina Long with a ceremonial county flag.
Longtime councilman William Keeler, a 30-year civil servant of the borough, became the first ever to be sworn in at the new pavilion by O’Scanlon. Councilman Marc Leckstein was sworn in by state Sen. Vin Gopal and Leckstein was chosen once again to serve as council president.
In her annual address, Long applauded efforts by the council for keeping the pavilion project on track. “The final cost (of the project) will be within the amount approved by the voters of Sea Bright in the referendum,” she announced, to much applause.
Construction is currently underway on a sister building, the new municipal complex, located several hundred feet from the pavilion. The complex will house a firehouse and police station.
Now in her final year of a four-year term, the mayor reflected on achievements, shortcomings and renewed commitments for 2019. Long promised to push for inclusion and collegiality within local governance, with timely and reliable updates to the public of what’s to come.
Although only 1,400 residents strong, Sea Bright has experienced a rebirth in the past two years with former mainstays such as Donovan’s Reef reopening and new construction projects finally being completed. This includes a new beachside walkway that begins outside the pavilion and continues down the coast to Edgewater Beach Club.
“Sea Bright is where people want to be,” said Leckstein. “As has become the slogan for our new library, we see ‘Bright Things Ahead.’ ”
Additional 2019 appointments, unanimously made, included:
Borough Attorney: Roger McLaughlin, McLaughlin, Stauffer & Sharklee, P.C.
Borough Special/Conflicts Counsel: Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, Vito Gagliardi Jr. and Kerri A. Wright (educational matters)
Borough Auditor: Robert W. Allison, Holman Frenia Allison, P.C.
Borough Engineer: Francis W. Mullan, T & M Associates
Borough Planner: Christine Cofone, Cofone Consulting Group, LLC
Borough Prosecutor: William G. McGuinn, Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst, LLP
Public Defender: Robert J. Holden
Bond Counsel: John Draikiwicz, Gibbons, P.C.