BELMAR, NJ — The United Methodists of Greater New Jersey will not be renewing its lease with the borough on the property currently occupied by the Belmar Community Center/Library Annex.

The borough was informed last week by Neptune-based United Methodists that the former church complex at 503 Seventh Avenue is being sold for redevelopment, according to Belmar Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum.

Since the lease will expire on December 31, Kirschenbaum said that he plans to meet with Belmar Public Library officials and trustees to evaluate space needs for programs currently housed at the building, including activities for seniors and the Belmar Community Makerspace.

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"All options are being pursued," added Sharon Russell-Fowler, president of the library board of trustees. "When the borough and the library have any information to share, the public will be notified."

Under the lease agreement first executed in October 2017, the borough assumed maintenance of the property in exchange for using the building rent-free — and establishing it as a community center and relocating and expanding upon the library's senior offerings. Last fall, the library's community makerspace opened on its second floor. In addition, civic organizations and community groups use the building for a variety of activities.

Before Belmar took over use of the building, it had been vacant except for the Belmar Food Pantry/Clothes Closet. Following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the church building and school were closed for an extensive renovation project. However, when it was complete and it was time for the church to reopen, many of its members had joined other nearby parishes.

 

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