One City. Asbury Park. Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan
The City of Asbury Park is best known as a beach town, located on the Jersey Shore within a short driving distance from both Philadelphia and New York City. In recent years, the East Side of the city has experienced a resurgence of the Jersey Shore tourism industry, attracting new restaurants, businesses, and residents along with seasonal tourists. But the West Side of town, a neighborhood physically separated from the rest of the city, has always lagged behind socioeconomically.
In an effort to reinvigorate the West Side, the City of Asbury Park applied for and received a Choice Neighborhoods planning grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). WRT worked with the City, the Asbury Park Housing Authority, and Interfaith Neighbors as the planning coordinator for the project, which is focused on the redevelopment of the Lincoln Village public housing site and new investments in the surrounding West Side neighborhood.
The vision and strategies of the One City. Asbury Park. Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan seek to create a seamless Asbury Park, where the West Side is physically and culturally integrated with the rest of the city and experiencing similar positive outcomes, while at the same time celebrating the unique history of the West Side.
To guide the planning process and allow for sustained input on the neighborhood’s priority concerns, working groups were formed, focusing on housing, education, employment, and other issues important to residents. WRT collaborated with Monmouth University to draft and administer an extensive needs assessment survey to inform each of these working groups in developing the plan’s goals and strategies. WRT also created a website to be used as a resource and implementation tool in addition to being a repository of information for residents and project stakeholders.
In order to show concrete signs of improvement, several early action “doing while planning” activities and investments were completed, including a Better Block temporary street festival, an expansion of Kula Farm and community garden, and safety upgrades to public housing properties.
After many decades of stalled progress on the West Side, residents are starting to see new housing and retail popping up along the neighborhood’s historic commercial corridor. Momentum is building on the West Side, and residents are poised to capture the benefits of a revitalized community.
For more information about the project, click here.