WRT and the City of Asbury Park led a public meeting and listening session to get initial comments from residents about the West Side neighborhood. After a brief presentation, attendees broke into six groups to give input about the neighborhood. The feedback received will be used as a jumping off point for the working groups. Three core questions were asked:
- What do you like about your neighborhood?
- What do you not like about your neighborhood?
- What is the best way to communicate with residents?
Many residents also offered comments on a fourth category about things that would improve the neighborhood.
What do you like about your neighborhood?
- Friendly neighbors
- Small-town feel of Asbury Park
- A rich history and sense of community
- Easy access to train station, post office, hospital
- Good public infrastructure (new roads, lighting, plantings)
- Improving relationship with law enforcement
- Good class sizes in schools
- A lot of people live here for a long time
- Springwood Park
- Large number of churches and other faith-based community assets
What do you not like about your neighborhood?
- Absentee landlords
- Crime and drug activity
- Lack of activities for youth
- Central business district and waterfront are not family-friendly
- Empty lots
- Lack of code enforcement
- Lack of jobs and local economic growth
- Neighborhood has a bad reputation
- Lack of trust between generations
- Spirit of exclusion or isolation from the rest of the city
- Poor relationship and lack of communication with City Hall
- Lack of opportunity to be heard
- Lack of health services and grief counseling
What are the best ways to communicate with residents?
- Door-to-door or in person
- Texts or phone calls
- Open mic events
- Churches and other organizations
What would improve your neighborhood?
- Low-income and workforce housing
- More homeownership opportunities
- Housing that is more modern and in better condition
- More input and involvement from residents
- Basic amenities along Springwood Ave like a drug store and grocery store
- Walkable local shopping experiences
- A revitalized West Side Community Center
- Better bus service
- A local job training and placement agency
- Support for smaller improvements and renovations to existing homes
- Community Benefit Agreements
- A return to the mindset of the West Side as a “village” and a tightknit community
- More homeless shelters and long-term assistance for struggling people
- Support for minority- and locally-owned businesses along Springwood Ave