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Asbury Park

Asbury Park is a small, 1.4-square-mile, densely populated seaside community of about 16,000 residents located in Monmouth County in central New Jersey. The city economy relies on strong seasonal tourism. For decades, the city has had a strong music scene and has been a destination for musicians, and since the 1990s, has had a vibrant gay community.

Train tracks bifurcate the city, with the East Side reaping the benefits of the coastal tourism and a newfound resurgence after decades of economic decline, while the West Side has remained largely distressed. As the East Side of the city has started to attract new investment for luxury rentals, condominiums, hotels, and retail, the West Side has begun to see some spillover, with land values escalating and speculative real estate investments that many believe may threaten West Side resident’s ability to remain in their homes. The Asbury Park BHEC team aims to transform the West Side neighborhood by working to actualize the vision set out in 2018 in the One City. Asbury Park. Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan.

The ten-year vision for that plan aims to “transform equitably and sustainably, without displacement and without gentrification into one seamless city, physically and culturally connected across neighborhoods and with no disparity in access to services, employment opportunities, and quality of life.” Addressing social determinants of health is a core component of the work needed to realize this vision, and the team intends to contribute to this vision via BHEC by advancing a built environment pipeline and influencing policy changes. While the West Side has struggled over the years, there has been some recent investment. Redevelopment efforts include replacing numerous vacant properties along Springwood Avenue, a once vibrant commercial corridor that sustained significant damage during race riots in the 1970s; development of Springwood Park, the first city park on the West Side in the city’s history; redevelopment of Boston Way, a public housing property; and construction of 64 private affordable housing units on Springwood Avenue. Additional assets within the neighborhood include the New Jersey Transit Commuter Rail Station with service to Newark and New York City (Penn Station), the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County, the city municipal government complex, and the Springwood Avenue and Washington Avenue redevelopment areas. This includes the recent addition of the Springwood Avenue Center, which houses the Senior Center, Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and Business Development Center and the KULA Café (presently housing Macrobites) and its neighboring Urban Farms. Additionally, the neighborhood has vibrant faith-based organizations that are important to the community.

Asbury Park

City team organizations

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern Jersey is a donor-supported, volunteer nonprofit offering one-on-one mentoring to youth through numerous programs.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County is a nonprofit organization that provides programming and support Services to children throughout the county at its two facilities, one in Red Bank and one in Asbury Park.
  • The City of Asbury Park is the governing body for the community and works to provide high-level, effective, and efficient municipal services to its residents. The city governs the permitting and approvals process for development and administers numerous departments relevant to the BHEC work, including community development, construction, and code enforcement, among others.
  • Coastal Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International and runs programs focused on property repair, maintenance, home construction, and neighborhood revitalization. Coastal Habitat engages volunteers to support its programs and offers its programs to individuals who cannot otherwise afford these activities.
  • Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) is an integrated network of healthcare providers in New Jersey and the largest healthcare provider in the state. HMH is starting to think about health beyond the four walls of the hospital and, according to its website, is “redefining how ‘health’ and ‘care’ work together, leading the way for health care’s expansion beyond hospital beds and into communities.”
  • Interfaith Neighbors (IFN) is a 33-year-old Asbury Park-based nonprofit organization with a social service and social impact mission serving all of Monmouth County. IFN develops affordable housing and offers residents a range of supports through its business development center, Senior nutrition and Meals on Wheels programs, rental assistance, and career preparation program.
  • New Jersey Natural Gas serves over half a million customers in New Jersey’s Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, and Ocean counties by operating and maintaining thousands of miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure. It has funded several housing efforts, contributing to several of IFN’s recent projects.
  • Westside Citizens United is an all-volunteer, grassroots, nonprofit community organization that has played a key role in ensuring West Side residents have a voice in the community.