Road to Keansburg: The Keansburg Business Alliance

My name is Cliff Moore, and I am the Economic Community Development Coordinator for Keansburg.  It's a new position in the Borough that was created about 9 months ago to coordinate efforts on the redevelopment of Keansburg.  I also own Kazia Rae's Restaurant on Carr Avenue that opened in June 2016. I see tremendous opportunity in Keansburg and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share in it's metamorphosis and growth.

I decided to found the Keansburg Business Alliance based on my experience as a Past President of the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, as Past President of the Keyport Business Improvement District and Past Vice President of the Hazlet Business Owners Association. I learned that when businesses work together, more is accomplished in a shorter period of time, the community as a whole is improved. It is also through collaboration with the governing body that the municipality becomes a more business-friendly environment, which becomes inviting to new businesses while also encouraging existing businesses to reinvest in their stores and buildings.  

Every successful revitalization effort starts with a strong business base.  Local businesses are the cornerstone of fundraising efforts for local organizations as well as local employment opportunities. The Keansburg Business Alliance (KBA) is an informal group of motivated buisness owners and potential business owners that care about the future of Keansburg and provide great input and feedback on some of the initiatives the Borough is making. The KBA also makes recommendations and suggestions to the governing body as well as create its' own initiatives to inprove the town. The Keansburg Centennial Weekend in October will be a celebration of the past and the first of many benchmarks to a new future.

What do you see as the needs of this town, and the potential?

Keansburg is a battered community with 1 square mile of land that is still recovering from SuperStorm Sandy. There is still a landscape of abandoned homes, empty lots and vacant commercial space.  Although the perception at this time is a negative, it is a positive for investors, potential home owners and new businesses to move in at below market rents. The potential is unlimited. There is direct access points throughout the town for public transportation using NJ Transit and the Academy Bus Lines. Only 45 minutes from NY by Bus and 3 just miles to the Ferry in Belford that goes to NYC. And did you know, Keansburg NJ, ranks as the No. 1 bargin beach town in the country, according to a report by RealtyTrac. (Printed in the New York Post, July 5, 2016)

What else is happening in this town?

One of the greatest asset is the 2 miles of rebuilt beach with Million Dollar views of the NY Skyline along with the reconstruction of Walkway East and the enhancement of Mobi-Mats for beach goers for better access with wheel-chair, strollers and a more stable walking surface for the elderly and very young.  Currently there is over $65M of construction underway with 184 Apartments (Cove on the Bay) under construction on Beachway overlooking the Bay, a new 3 story restaurant and roof top bar (Pier 260) overlooking the Bay, a new Brewery (Raritan Bay Brewery Co.) is under construction, and a development of over 200 condominiums was just approved to be built along the Bay.

What other events are on the beach?

Keansburg has a new Recreation Department that has hit the ground running this year with over 50 Beach events taking place over the summer and fall and spring programs for families to participate in as well as become a destination for people that live in the sourrounding area to come an experience all of the positive changes that have taken place over the last couple of years. The greatest need for the town is to get the word out and have more people come visit and see all the events, activities and opportunities that exist.  There is a Farmers Market and Free Movies on the Beach on Tuesdays, Yoga on the Bay and other activities on Wednesdays, Free Concerts on the Beach on Fridays as well as Festivals and other Business Sponsored events on most weekends. Great family events and activities throughout the year for our residents and surrounding area vistiors.  This is also a positive consideration for a family that is looking to settle in a one of only a few small affordable towns in New Jersy. The KeansburgConnection.com has a interactive calendar that porvides real-time updates to all of the events and activities.  This blog offers updates of upcoming events and iniatives as well as positive news on a weekly basis.

What does Gratitude Migration have to add to this town?

Gratitude Migration brings people to Keansburg from outside the immediate area to experience the beauty of our beach and views of the New York Skyline.  In the past, most attendees would come to the festival and then leave without seeing or supporting the local businesses. This year there will be a FREE Shuttle to take attendees to the restaurants and businesses through out the town.  The shuttle will make stops at the Keansburg Historical Museum so people can learn of the history of Keansburg which has on of the oldest churches and cemeteries in Monmouth County as well as the Oldest Amusement Parks in NJ. There will be an manned information table by the entrance of the festival for people to get information, menus and flyers with discount offers from the businesses throughout most of the festival.  

How else are festival organizers collaborating with the businesses?

The map initiative is a collaborative effort with the businesses and the Festival organizers to share the locations of restaurants and Official Borough Locations including the Keansburg Historical Museum.  This work of art will be hung in an upright hand build crafted display by the entrance of the festival. It is done by a local artist in a cartoon-like fashion along with the Businesses that helped underwrite the map highlighted. The backside of the drawn map will have map with a business directory with all of the businesses listed. The maps will remain standing throughout the year for local residents and visitors that enter the beach in that area.

What should festivalgoers bear in mind?

The residents quality of life should be minimally affected if at all with the influx of the possible 3,500 attendees of the event. Street parking is restricted to residents and parking laws will be strictly enforced during the event.  Staying off resident's private property that borders the beach and well as noise limits in the same area.

We want to encourage attendees to take advantage of the FREE shuttle and visit the restaurants and local businesses. Tour our small community and visit the Keansburg Historical Museum.  

What else should we check out?

Take the FREE Shuttle and checkout the Art that is underway on Carr Ave. as part of the "Keansburg Mural Project" that is being done by local artists.  The Project is coordinated with DrSketchy of Asburk Park. The project is in the same area as the Keansburg Historical Museum and two restaurants and a deli and convenience store as well. 

How can people living in the city support towns like Keansburg?

Towns like Keansburg rely on people to come into town to help support small neighborhood mom and pop businesses and restaurants.  Festivals, events and restaurants are the greatest attractions for people to come in and see all the great opportunities. People can best support it by coming into town as well as sharing it on social media, blogs and word of mouth. 

What are you most looking forward to about attending this festival?

Combining the positive energy of the festival with the residential and business community and share the opportunities in Keansburg with those in attendance.

Finally... what are you most grateful for at this moment!

I'm most grateful for the opportunity to capture the energy the participants bring into Keansburg and share with them the many opportunities that currently exist and are evolving during our revitalization period.  

Anyone who may want additional information on business or development opportunities can contact me at 732-610-6293 or cliff.moore@keansburg-nj.us Keansburg offers tax abatements and/or exemptions for new commercial or industrial construction for 5 years.