Necessary Tax?

Oct 16, 2019

To the Editor:

I received together with all Beach Haven voters a letter from our mayor requesting we approve an additional real estate tax for future purchases of land for new parks. The mayor wrote of purchases made by other municipalities on the Island of vacant land for park use to support her suggestion that we in Beach Haven follow suit.

While other municipalities may see the need for more parks, Beach Haven has more park area than all other Island communities on a per-resident basis. An evaluation of the opportunities offered to the residents at each Beach Haven Park might be considered before any future park purchase be made.

Veterans Park provides a venue for weekly concerts supported by local businesses, a positive use to be sure. The major uses that attract the most visitors are the various craft, special sales and flea markets. These uses require an open area for the set-up of tents and tables, which prevent cross walkways, trees that provide shade, and shrub plantings that would invite the daily use of the park by Beach Haven residents.

The Taylor Avenue park as well must remain an open space to accommodate the markets and clam chowder event. Again, the complete lack of shade trees, a cross walk area and plantings do not invite park use. One might also question what financial support the various activities provide Beach Haven.

Walsh Field offers tennis courts, which are used by many, but there is little use of the rest of the field unless you consider dog exercise a positive use. The same can be said of the park at Nelson Avenue, where the little-used skate park has provided a new use as the pickleball area. Both the tennis and pickleball uses are supported by a use charge to all who use the facilities. There are also children’s facilities at both Taylor and Nelson that are used by small children. The remainder of the Nelson Park area is, as the other parks, devoid of walkways, trees and other amenities that might welcome users.

Recently Beach Haven has offered an opportunity to those who wish to grow their own produce on a plot of land, also at Nelson Avenue. The $45 cost for a growing season might buy a greater amount of produce at a local store.

Small children who enjoy the Taylor and Nelson activities also like to swim, and the ocean requires close supervision of parents. Parents have to explain to children that while Beach Haven has a dog swimming area at Taylor there is no bay beach for their use. There is also much to be done to upgrade the restroom facilities. The Nelson facilities need work and the banister would not past the Beach Haven building code. The Taylor Avenue facility also needs work; the window to the women’s room might be raised to remove the view of the interior.

The mayor has asked for our support of the added tax three times over the last three years and each time the voters have not responded positively. Voters may be considering the use of their tax dollars already supporting the park activities and the amount of funds raised by the users of the facilities. Does the borough needs funds so badly that it charges $45 for 32 square feet of growing space?

Howard Buerkle

Beach Haven

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