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Belmar, New Jersey
Borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States
What is now Belmar was originally incorporated as Ocean Beach borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 9, 1885, from portions of Wall Township, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier. On April 16, 1889, it became the City of Elcho borough, which lasted for a few weeks until the name was changed to the City of Belmar Borough as of May 14, 1889. The city acquired its current name, Borough of Belmar, on November 20, 1890. The borough's name means "beautiful sea" in Italian.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.62 square miles (4.18 km2), including 1.05 square miles (2.71 km2) of land and 0.57 square miles (1.48 km2) of water (35.19%).
Of the 2,695 households, 18.1% had children under the age of 18; 33.9% were married couples living together; 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present and 53.0% were non-families. Of all households, 41.9% were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.98.
16.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 30.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.9 years. For every 100 females, the population had 106.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 108.3 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $59,928 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,993) and the median family income was $59,929 (+/- $10,255). Males had a median income of $52,215 (+/- $4,278) versus $44,453 (+/- $11,259) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $35,223 (+/- $4,105). About 9.2% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.6% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 Census, 28.2% of Belmar's residents were of Irish ancestry, the 12th highest of any municipality in New Jersey, for all communities in which at least 1,000 people listed their ancestry.
There were 2,946 households, out of which 17.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.0% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 55.3% were non-families. 44.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.05 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 17.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 36.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $44,896, and the median income for a family was $61,250. Males had a median income of $40,557 versus $34,323 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $29,456. About 4.5% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.3% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
Parks and recreation
Panorama of Belmar's beach from 9th Ave. and Ocean Ave.
Belmar is a popular vacation destination because of its natural and recreational resources and close proximity to New York and Philadelphia. It features wide beaches for sunbathing, surfing, swimming, and fishing. The boardwalk and town offer shops, restaurants, an active arts scene, sporting events, festivals, and a variety of family-oriented activities (see "Annual Events" below). Belmar sits on the south side of the Shark River and boasts a large municipal marina in the bay and on the inlet itself, including the only private marina in town, Seaport Inlet Marina.
Belmar beach (as well as those of municipalities to the south, such as Manasquan and Point Pleasant) is among the most popular surf spots on the East Coast. Belmar frequently hosts surfing events and competitions. Along with surfing, Belmar also has an active skate community and skatepark constructed by American Ramp Company. The Jersey Shore Basketball League, a competitive summer basketball league, takes place at St. Rose High School every summer.
The Belmar Arts Council (BAC) sponsors regular art shows, workshops, concerts, and performances year around. BAC's gallery and workshop, the Boatworks, is located at 608 River Road, Belmar, around the corner from Klein's Seafood Restaurant near the Shark River Inlet.
Belmar Police Van
In July 1990, the voters of Belmar overwhelmingly passed a referendum changing Belmar's form of government from a three-person, non-partisancommission form of government under the Walsh Act to the Small Municipality plan 3 form of government under the Faulkner Act. This referendum followed nine months of research, analysis and hearings by a Charter Study Commission elected by the residents at a referendum that passed in November 1989 and implemented effective January 1, 1991. The borough is one of 18 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government, which is only available to municipalities with fewer than 12,000 residents at the time of adoption.
Under the version of the Small Municipality Plan form applicable to Belmar, the Borough Council is comprised of four members who are elected for staggered, three-year terms at partisan elections each year as part of the November general election, with either one or two seats up for vote in a three-year cycle. The Mayor is directly elected by the voters for a four-year term and serves as Belmar's chief executive officer, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Borough. The Mayor sits as a member of the Council, chairs Council meetings and is able to vote as a member of the Council, but has no veto over the Council's actions.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor of Belmar is Republican Mark Walsifer, whose term of office ends December 31, 2022. Members of the Belmar Borough Council are Thomas Brennan (D, 2020), Thomas J. Carvelli (R, 2022), James W. McCracken (R, 2022) and Patricia Wann (R, 2021).
Monmouth County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members who are elected at-large to serve three year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects one of its members to serve as Director and another as Deputy Director. As of 2020[update], Monmouth County's Freeholders are
Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone (R, Neptune City, term as freeholder ends December 31, 2022; term as freeholder director ends 2021),
Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley (R, Hazlet Township, term as freeholder ends December 31, 2021; term as deputy freeholder director ends 2021),Lillian G. Burry (R, Colts Neck Township, 2020),
Nick DiRocco (R, Wall Township, 2022), and
Patrick G. Impreveduto (R, Holmdel Township, 2020).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 3,823 registered voters in Belmar, of which 1,074 (28.1%) were registered as Democrats, 765 (20.0%) were registered as Republicans and 1,982 (51.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were two voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 51.5% of the vote (1,310 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 47.0% (1,196 votes), and other candidates with 1.4% (36 votes), among the 2,584 ballots cast by the borough's 4,011 registered voters (42 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 64.4%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 49.5% of the vote (1,389 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 47.4% (1,332 votes) and other candidates with 1.6% (44 votes), among the 2,808 ballots cast by the borough's 3,938 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.3%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 50.4% of the vote (1,394 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 48.0% (1,327 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (32 votes), among the 2,764 ballots cast by the borough's 4,014 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 68.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 70.6% of the vote (1,440 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 27.2% (555 votes), and other candidates with 2.2% (45 votes), among the 2,096 ballots cast by the borough's 4,043 registered voters (56 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 51.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 57.4% of the vote (1,173 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 34.0% (694 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.8% (138 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (20 votes), among the 2,044 ballots cast by the borough's 3,698 registered voters, yielding a 55.3% turnout.
The Belmar School District serves students in public school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at Belmar Elementary School. As of the 2018-19 school year, the district, comprised of one school, had an enrollment of 471 students and 51.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 9.1:1. The district also serves students from Lake Como who attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship. The school was constructed in 1909 and has had additions built in 1929, 1949, 1969 and 1993. There are 61 certified staff members, including the district's administrators, teachers, nurses and child study team personnel, with an additional 12 paraprofessionals. The single school facility is two schools in one, a primary school for PreK-5 and a middle school structure for 6-8.
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 26.12 miles (42.04 km) of roadways, of which 20.85 miles (33.55 km) were maintained by the municipality, 3.40 miles (5.47 km) by Monmouth County and 1.87 miles (3.01 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
New Jersey Seafood Festival celebrated its 30th year in 2016. The festival, which attracted an estimated 200,000 visitors in 2015, had to be modified in scope to allow the borough to cope with the volumes of traffic.
New Jersey Sand Castle Contest, which featured 200 participants at the 27th annual event in 2013
Belmar is home to the first and oldest first-aid squad in the United States.
Belmar's "E" Street is the original source of Bruce Springsteen's "E Street Band". Springsteen's original keyboardist, David Sancious, was a resident of E Street in Belmar at the time the band was formed. The Sancious' family home was often used as a practice venue where they honed their musical craft in the formative pre-fame years.
According to the Köppen climate classification system, Belmar, New Jersey has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). Cfa climates are characterized by all months having an average mean temperature > 32.0 °F (> 0.0 °C), at least four months with an average mean temperature >= 50.0 °F (>= 10.0 °C), at least one month with an average mean temperature >= 71.6 °F (>= 22.0 °C) and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. During the summer months at Belmar, a cooling afternoon sea breeze is present on most days, but episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values >= 95 °F (>= 35 °C). On average, the wettest month of the year is July which corresponds with the annual peak in thunderstorm activity. During the winter months, episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < 0 °F (< -18 °C). The plant hardiness zone at Belmar Beach is 7a with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 3.8 °F (-15.7 °C). The average seasonal (November-April) snowfall total is 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm) and the average snowiest month is February which corresponds with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.
Climate data for Belmar Beach, NJ (1981-2010 Averages)
^Biography, Congressman Chris Smith. Accessed January 3, 2019. "Elected in 1980, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton, N.J.) is currently in his 19th two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents of the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey."
^Belmar Elementary School 2013 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed June 3, 2020. "The school also provides for the educational needs of students from the neighboring community of Lake Como, a small interior municipality which has a total area of 0.3 square miles.... Students from the Belmar and Lake Como communities who attend public high school are assigned based on sending/receiving relationships to either Manasquan High School or Asbury Park High School. Students may also attend one of the Career Academies in the Monmouth County Vocational School District, which are Academy of Allied Health & Science (AAHS), Biotechnology High School (BTHS) Communications High School (CHS), High Technology High School (HTHS), and Marine Academy of Science & Technology (MAST), as well as Red Bank Regional High School."
^ abAbout Our School, Belmar Elementary School. Accessed June 3, 2020. "The single school is two schools in one, a primary school for grades preschool through fifth and a middle school organization plan for grades six through eight. Students attending public high school are assigned to Manasquan, Asbury Park, Red Bank Regional, Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Allied Health and Sciences, Academy Charter School, High Tech High Schools, Communications High School and the newest Monmouth County Vocational School - Biotechnology High School."
^Sending Districts, Manasquan Public Schools. Accessed June 3, 2020. "Manasquan High School receives students from seven different districts; Avon, Brielle, Belmar, Lake Como, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and Spring Lake Heights. Including our Manasquan students, the high school population is just under one thousand students."
^High School InformationArchived July 18, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Belmar Elementary School. Accessed August 28, 2013. "Links To The Sending District High Schools: Asbury Park High School / Manasquan High School. Other Area High Schools: Academy Charter High School / Red Bank Regional High School... Monmouth County Vocational Schools"
^Mullen, Shannon; Shields, Nancy; and Matheson, Kathy. "Crime, school solutions costly as city seeks rebirth; High school improving, but not enough, many say", Asbury Park Press, January 27, 2005. Accessed August 28, 2013. "It was the day of the charter school's annual lottery, when names of applicants are drawn at random to fill the last remaining slots in next fall's freshman class. Academy Charter, now in its seventh year, is free to students in Asbury Park and the seven nearby towns that are sending districts for Asbury Park High School: Allenhurst, Avon, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Deal, Interlaken and Lake Como, formerly South Belmar."
^History, St. Rose High School. Accessed August 26, 2013. "The Parish of St. Rose and the Sisters of Saint Joseph founded St. Rose High School in 1923 under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Trenton."
^Williams, Paul. "Belmar Seafood Festival to be scaled back in 2016", Asbury Park Press, December 7, 2015. Accessed October 30, 2016. "The borough's annual Seafood Festival will be scaled back and held one month earlier than normal in 2016, after record crowds at this year's festival in June forced the borough to close its entrances for four hours when its streets became overcrowded and gridlocked with traffic.... Officials have estimated that 200,000 people flocked to the borough during the three-day event in 2015."
^Murray, Ed. "New Jersey Sandcastle Contest in Belmar has more than 200 entries", The Star-Ledger, July 17, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2013. "Belmar beach was a construction zone today filled with castles, a giant sea horse, a shark named Bruce and a Kraken.More than 200 entries were made for this year's New Jersey Sandcastle Contest, said John Bonevich, one of the contest judges. This is the 27th annual event."
^Robbins, Christopher. "Surfers' camaraderie, love of ocean shreds competition at Belmar Pro", NJ.com, September 14, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2013. "Belmar - The Tao of surfing was spread across the 18th Avenue beach Saturday morning like a blanket. At the 10th Fosters Pro surfing competition, dozens of experienced surfers shredded the mushy swells of the Jersey Shore, as hundreds of spectators gathered to watch them."
^Parker, Chris. "Manasquan takes Belmar's Howard Rowland Lifeguard Tournament", Asbury Park Press, July 9, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2013. "There are a few differences this summer at the 10th Avenue Pavilion on the beach in Belmar.... It's the first summer since superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore, and the state slogan "Stronger Than The Storm" was on full display at the 18th annual Howard Rowland Lifeguard Tournament, where eight local crews competed."
^Cahillane, Kevin. "Two Guys Left Behind In the E Street Shuffle", The New York Times, May 1, 2005. Accessed July 29, 2012. "Without David Sancious, there would be no E Street Band. Which is to say that one night in 1973 as the band returned home from touring in Texas, the van pulled up to Mr. Sancious' childhood home at 1105 E Street in Belmar and Mr. Springsteen now had a name for the band."
^Long, Daniel W. "Are You A Made Man?", Boating (magazine), September 2002, Vol. 75, No. 9, p. 106. Accessed August 26, 2013. "55. Where's home port for Stugots? a. Belmar, New Jersey b. Point Pleasant, New Jersey c. Manasquan, New Jersey" Answer "a" is shown on p. 108.
^10th Avenue Burrito, Food Network. Accessed September 17, 2013. "As Seen On - Show: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - Episode: Wings 'n Things Hosted by: Guy Fieri"
^Petruncio, Nick. "Belmar native is new leader of LGBT group", Asbury Park Press, June 3, 2016. Accessed July 3, 2019. "Christian Fuscarino, the 25-year-old recently appointed head of the state's largest LGBT civil rights organization, remembers the day he held in his hand a gold pocket watch that belonged to his hero, Bayard Rustin, a gay man who was Martin Luther King Jr.'s closest community organizer."
^Lamb, Brian. "Q&A With Michael Gerson", CSPAN, January 3, 2007. Accessed April 2, 2020. "[Brian Lamb] For the first 10 years of your life you grew up where? [Michael J. Gerson] In New Jersey, actually. [Brian Lamb] Where? [Michael J. Gerson] Was born in Belmar, New Jersey, the central coast. My father worked in Newark and we were - but then was moved for his business to St. Louis when I was about 10 years old."
^"Clijsters, Lynch wed in Belgian ceremony", Asbury Park Press, July 14, 2007. Accessed July 25, 2007. "Retired tennis star Kim Clijsters and U.S. basketball player Brian Lynch, a Belmar resident, were married Friday in a secret early morning ceremony.... Clijsters said she wanted to focus on her wedding and a new life with Lynch, a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy who went on to play basketball at Villanova and plays professionally in the Belgian league."
^Polyn, Glenn. "Belmar resident part of the new wave of wrestling", Asbury Park Press, July 5, 2001. Accessed February 4, 2011. "Rechner made a request to the ECW brass that Balls Mahoney be an extension of his own personality.... The 24-year-old Belmar resident sat beside his co-workers, Dave Michaels and Brian Sexton, and explained how he dreams of the day when thousands of people to scream their displeasure at him."
^Marks, Peter. "On Stage, and Off", The New York Times, September 8, 1995. Accessed July 29, 2012. "Fortunately, the 36-year-old actor, a native of Belmar, N.J., needs a lot of padding on his 200-plus-pound frame to play Otto, whose eating compulsion feeds into one of the central themes of Nicky Silver's new comedy, which opened last month to largely enthusiastic reviews."
^Wilkowe, Ellen S. "Man with a horn", Asbury Park Press, February 8, 2009. Accessed February 4, 2011. "After joining the Jukes Rosenberg moved to the Shore area and lived in Belmar, Long Branch and even across from the Stone Pony he said."