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Posts Tagged ‘the Ocean Grove community’

Forever blowing bubbles in the Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo.

 

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.   Re-post 2016.

We recently began a discussion about mega- events in town and about the various groups that do not come together as a community.  We suggested that there are too many huge events that literally swallow the Grove whole.  Just this past month we had the Giant Flea Market (CC)  and the Giant Craft Market  (CMA) and then Bridgefest (CMA).  On  Saturday, June 25, the town was consumed by Bridgefest, a huge event sponsored by the CMA.

An exception is the magnificent July 4 parade, a  culturally enriching experience for the entire community and visitors. That parade resonates with history and tradition, and it provides pride, enjoyment and solidarity  to the people of Ocean Grove.  It is the only mega-event that is embraced by everyone in town, so the parking crunch can be tolerated.

But during  these huge events, it becomes extremely difficult to park.  People drive all over town—circling to find a space.  Parking issues contribute to a toxic effect that goes along with the sound and the fury of these tourist invasions. It goes beyond putting your car away.  It effects our lifestyles

But consider this:  The larger issue is not parking per se.   It is, “Whom is the town for?” Most of us bought homes or rent here  because we love this unique ocean-front town.  It has  diversity,  spirituality, family values,  music,  history, tranquility, and beauty.  When you come into town, you feel transformed to another place in time.    It has the potential to evolve a unique 21st century culture. But forces here which run amok threaten the future of Ocean Grove.

Whenever a mega-day occurs, the whole town becomes different.   It is not the town we bargained for when we decided to live here. It becomes something uncomfortable for those who reside  here, and really, why should the tax payers/residents have to put up with so many massive chaotic festivals in our town?  Who decides what the limits are?   Who decides whom  the town is for?

Specifically, these events, such as the giant flea markets, bring nothing of value to the town—- certainly nothing with character, charm, education and pro-community culture.  What they do bring are huge crowds, congestion, something to do for tourists, and transfer of money to vendors and sponsors.  At best they help a few tourist oriented businesses such as shops and restaurants.   They also overrun the infrastructure including the roads, the parks, the beachfront, the parking, the emergency services, the trash collection, the police patrols, and the lifestyles of those who live here.  Who decided we should have such events?

We need more  small-scale community happenings that enrich a town for the benefit of its residents.  These enrich the town by promoting community and culture.

Consider the money. The Chamber of Commerce must make a lot when they have one of their large events.  But who gets the money?—not the town of Ocean Grove  which has the events forced on it and has to put up with it.  It isn’t the homeowners who maintain their homes, culture and lifestyles as an inviting backdrop.   Does any of the money go to town services or community events and programs, for example for kids, seniors and families ?

Why should we tax payers  have our town overrun by those who consume us  and then go home?  And that includes those who use our streets to park and then go to Asbury.

Look back and consider other towns you have lived in.  Think of ones that were desirable and had a strong sense of community.   Did they have comparable mega-festivals that took over the town and benefited very few residents..  What community events did they have where you lived?

Thus,  we have brought up the subject of community in this town and raised the question of who is in charge.  Who gets to decide what’s best for the community?  Unfortunately, it is not the people.  It is a variety of selfish factions acting for their own interests.

There is no game plan for Ocean Grove. It is a free for all, and the question of “whom is the town for” is not answered because the answer has not been identified.   Is it for the event sponsors, the people who live here, the CMA, the tourists, the business community, influential families who receive favoritism, the developers, the Neptune politicians, or the narrowly focused organizations—especially the misguided  HOA?

It is complicated due to the “anything goes” philosophy here.  What can be done?    How can the people get control?    Let’s continue the  conversation.

 

THE MONOTONES

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Annual Blogfinger OG town-wide yard sale sponsored by the residents of Ocean Grove.. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

 

Heck Avenue block party–an authentic neighborhood event. Click to see what they’re eating. Jean Bredin photo© Blogfinger.net

Blogfinger Commentary:   

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

In my opinion, once again, the media, made up of outsiders, miscasts the town of Ocean Grove as a predominantly religious destination.  There is much in the way of Camp Meeting events and tourism in OG  which should be mentioned in that APA write-up, but there is little recognition of the widely diverse citizen population which, through its investment in historic homes and the continually evolving lifestyles of the townspeople, make Ocean Grove the desirable “neighborhood” that it is. The APA doesn’t seem to understand the words “community” and “neighborhood.”

However, this neighborhood award is well deserved, even if the “spin” is lopsided.

The specific mention of our two lakes as “exceptional natural features” emphasizes the importance of those bodies of water and should light a fire under the Wesley Lake Commission to do something significant about the dirty street water flowing into the Lake and ultimately into the ocean off our shores.

As for the idea that the Chamber of Commerce and the OGCMA deserve special mention for “creating an overall sense of community,”  that is simply not true.  The write-up indicates that the APA failed to do its homework in evaluating our town.

Those two groups are interested predominantly  in their individual agendas, and along with Neptune Township, fail utterly to help the citizens who live in the Grove develop a stronger sense of community identity, rewarding lifestyles, and fine neighborhoods.

And finally, Neptune Township cannot take credit for the planning and evolution of our town.  The planning began with the CMA  during the 19th century, and it was the citizens who pushed for the historic designations in the late 20th.  It is the residents of this town and not tourists or Neptuners who can claim credit for our lifestyles and desirability as a community.

Blogfinger  demands that only Ocean Grovers attend the award ceremony.  Neptune Township—sit down and stay home!

 

KERMIT RUFFINS:

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