The former Bank of America branch building in Barnegat Light is coming down, and by all accounts, the north end town will never have a bank in the foreseeable future.
It was not for lack of trying.
Not only the property owner, but also the mayor and town’s chief financial officer sought out numerous banks for the 1508 Central location.
“We did,” confirmed Mayor Kirk Larson, “and we went to one a second time, and they asked, ‘What part of no didn’t you understand?’”
So finally property owner Thomas Fallon applied for and obtained a subdivision for two single-family houses there.
Even the commercial accounts of the busy fishing industry in Barnegat Light were not enough. Neither are the thousands of summer visitors who might want to stop at the ATM machine. By residential numbers, the town had only 574 residents in the 2010 census. A more recent count shows 1225 households, but not all of those are year-round residents.
Bank of America also eliminated other branches in the area in recent years, including Surf City and a much-used branch on Nautilus Drive in Ocean Acres.
“It wasn’t enough for the higher-ups when they saw that thing sitting on a dead-end island,” Larson told The SandPaper this week.
“They said there’s no way; you’ve got to do a hundred million dollars a year to keep it going. It didn’t have those kind of deposits. I think they did $55 million.”
As the frame building splintered to demolition, observers wondered whether it would be difficult to remove the bank vault. The mayor was watching, and apparently that part was not a problem, either.
“It came apart in pieces, I saw it; it was all stacked up, individual walls all bolted together on the inside.”
Residents at the January monthly borough council meeting had asked if they were going to get another bank in the town, and were told the story.
“It’s kind of sad,” said Larson this week. “You lose these things, and it’s hard.”
But They Are Getting A Second Little Library
The Little Free Library outside the post office on West 10th Street is so popular that users are getting another one beside it.
The Barnegat Light Taxpayers’ Association received borough council approval Jan. 11 to place a second library box next to the first one, at no cost to the town.
It will be installed sometime this spring and will be monitored by members of the taxpayers association, said John Tennyson, BLTA president.
Built by Barnegat Light fabricator Larry Walsh, the second box will be 30 inches wide and 30 inches high and 17 inches deep, a little larger than the first box. The first box will be moved over a bit to make room for the new one next to it. It will be mounted on two 4 x 4 supports in the ground.
The new box will house the adult and young adult collections. The original box will hold a collection for children. Approximately 1,500-2,000 books changed hands last summer.
Water Meter Update Heads Other News
Borough Council President Michael Spark, head of the water/sewer committee, said that a different installation idea is being looked at for the new water meters – placing them above ground instead of underground.
That method is being used in Long Beach Township, he said, and it could be less expensive.
The fence at the kiddie park on West 10th Street will be replaced in the next few weeks, Councilman Scott Sharpless reported at the Jan. 11 meeting. “Right now it has holes in it. Kids can go in and out of it as they’re playing.”
Councilman Ed Wellington reported that he was waiting to hear from the state Department of Environmental Protection on whether the borough could obtain a temporary dredging permit to deepen the channel around the public docks near 8th Street.
Regarding erosion carving cliffs into northern beaches, including 12th Street and 15th Street areas, Councilwoman Dottie Reynolds said, “Hopefully in the spring, the southern breezes will bring a lot of the sand back.”
Councilman Frank Mikuletzky, in charge of public safety, reminded residents to “keep an eye out for your neighbors’ houses” in the winter. “If you see anything suspicious, report it to the police, or to public works if it’s a water leak.”
A budget meeting on the coming year’s spending plan was set for Feb. 8 by Councilman George Warr.
From the public comment portion of the meeting, council members agreed to draft an ordinance to place on the agenda for the February meeting, proposing that ice cream trucks would end their hours of operation at 6 p.m.
Currently, ice cream trucks may run until 9 p.m., but Poppy’s Ice Cream Parlor business owner Dan Malay asked for the change in consideration of the challenges that brick-and-mortar businesses face trying to make it in a limited-season timeframe.
– Reposted from The Sandpaper