Avalon, NJ Being Proactive Turning Old Schoolhouse Into Parking
While some South Jersey towns continue to have political debates about parking issues, the Borough of Avalon has decided to be proactive in using public land to elevate some of its own parking issues.
At the October 11th Avalon Council Meeting, Business Administrator Scott Wahl spoke up during the public comment session about the city's plans for the now vacant lot on 26th Street where the old schoolhouse used to stand. Wahl explained that after the city deemed the fundamental structure of the building could not be saved, the borough of Avalon decided to demolish it instead of spending between $2 million and $70 million to replace the building with another structure.
Avalon Mayor John McCorrustin did not support any redevelopment projects on the site of the former 26th Street schoolhouse as that would add more density to a neighborhood that already is a mix of residential homes and businesses. The short-term goal is to create public parking in an area of town that has parking complications during the Summer Months each year.
This public parking lot would be similar to the one in Stone Harbor between 94th and 93rd Streets on 2nd Avenue. While the square footage of the lot in Avalon would be smaller than what is currently in Stone Harbor, the proximity to Residential homes is very similar.
The old schoolhouse on 26th Street was the Borough of Avalon's Grade School location for over 50 years before the current location was opened and then for almost 40 years the building was the home of the town's Library. Because of the building's history, the property belongs to the city and they had to do something soon with the building in poor condition.
I understand that some of Avalon's residents are not happy about a public parking lot being placed in the residential section of town but I think they are not seeing the big picture. Like many Jersey Shore towns, Avalon's downtown business area overlaps with residential areas. The original development of the municipality from the late 1880s to 1920s could have never accounted for the town's growth as a vacation destination. Also factoring in multiple Hurricanes that have required redevelopment in many Jersey Shore towns, the borough of Avalon has faced the necessity to evolve over the decades.
Just like they had to install more Pickleball courts in the 8th Street Recreation area, Avalon is creating this parking lot to keep up with the changing demands created by the visitors and vacations who come to town every year. I say Avalon deserves credit for being proactive instead of reactive, unlike some other South Jersey towns.
What a $25 Million Home in Avalon Looks Like
Gallery Credit: Joe Kelly