Workers are installing new street lights on Cookman Avenue as part of a streetscape program designed to better link the waterfront and downtown business district.
The streetscape project started in the spring. Waterfront redeveloper Asbury Partners is paying for the improvements, with the goal of making this barren stretch of Cookman more pedestrian-friendly.
Installing the lighting is the next step, and Brian Cheripka of Asbury Partners previously told the Sun that eight new street lights will be installed to improve lighting and safety in the area. Old utility poles will also be removed, he said.
Before the project got underway, Cheripka said this section of Cookman “[did] not encourage people to walk from the [downtown] central business district to the waterfront. Between the old buildings boarded up, and the general lack of upkeep, it [discouraged] people from making that connectivity.”
Meanwhile, at Cookman Avenue’s intersections with Heck Street and Monroe Avenue, additional plantings and evergreen-like material has been installed.
“The goal is to create visual focal points,” he said. “You then look down Cookman Avenue toward the waterfront and it becomes a more pedestrian-friendly environment.”
The project will cost Asbury Partners $500,000, Cheripka has said.
Cheripka is vice president of land for iStar Financial, which took over Asbury Partners in 2010, after the former owners of Asbury Partners defaulted on loans made to it by iStar. The financial services company has installed Cheripka in Asbury Park to oversee the waterfront redevelopment project.