Jersey Shore Eyesore Will Soon Be Gone [AUDIO]
If you drive Route 9 through Berkeley Township, then you've probably seen that dilapidated eyesore of a shopping plaza.
The Beachwood Shopping Center has remained virtually vacant for almost a full decade and plans for a revamp continue to move forward at a snail's pace. But there is good news.
After battling with the site's owner, demolition is a matter of weeks away - not years.
It was once home to a popular supermarket, a bowling alley and a Woolworth. For the last 10 years, it's become more and more run down. During Sandy, one of the buildings caught fire blamed on electrical wiring that was still active.
Mayor Carmen Amato says they've been working on plans to tear it down and start fresh to bring in new ratables. They had to wait for the property owner's cooperation. They had to issue fines for several code violations over the past few months. Now, all of that has changed and positive progress is being made.
The owner of the plaza settled with the Township, paying them $65,000 in fees. Demolition must begin by the first part of September. If not, Patricia Oughton will face more fines. Mayor Amato says the old, rundown buildings will be gone soon and it's about time.
"This has taken way too long. We can partially take responsibility, especially the previous administrations before me," Amato explained. "This sat there vacant and crumbling - and nothing was done. They should have been leveling fines against the owner years ago. We finally took action this year."
Amato and many other township officials see the site as the perfect way to bring in more money and jobs to the community.
"We are hoping to see some box stores, small businesses, maybe some restaurants on the site."
The developer will be ironing out ideas to present the Council.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks will be the area known as Johnson's Pit behind the shopping center. The site once housed an asphalt factory and there are concerns of soil contamination.
Amato tells Townsquare Media News they have every intention of cleaning it up first and have already had talks with the State Department of Environmental Protection.