County: Monmouth County
The First United Methodist Church is a Queen Anne style masterpiece in the heart of Bradley Beach. The interior boasts magnificent woodwork, stained glass windows, and the original Jardine pipe organ. The building is also significant to the town’s history. According to a 1900 article in the Asbury Park Press, its construction was made possible by a donation from the town’s namesake, James A. Bradley, to the Bradley Beach Methodists.
After sitting unoccupied for six years, the Friends of Bradley Beach Community Center organized a petition with over 500 residents and successfully urged the Borough to purchase and save the vacant church. The hope was to use the church as the Borough’s new community center.
Now, years later, the Borough is deciding on whether to convert it into a community center or sell it to a private developer which could spell demolition for new construction. On March 1, 2022, at a Town Hall meeting, architects retained by the Borough of Bradley Beach presented residents with three proposals for turning the Church into a community center, and were met with objections from some residents and elected officials concerned with cost. It is likely to be decided by referendum later this year. Preservation New Jersey supports the view of The Friends of Bradley Beach Community Center who continue to advocate for its repurposing as a community center.
Friends of the Bradley Beach Community Center