POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A Jersey Shore local family is doing things to give back to the community they love, giving millions to spruce up the downtown.
The 113-year-old Gottlieb building on Arnold Avenue in Point Pleasant Beach was five days away from the wrecking ball. The town couldn’t afford to save it, but retired Silicon Valley tech executive – and now local – Steve Fisher could.
“We decided that we love this town. It’s been really good to us. It’s been great for our son. Schools are great. And we thought, you know, what’s better for us to give back to the town with our time and our energy and also with some money,” he told CBSN New York’s Meg Baker.
Fisher envisions the brick building as the anchor of the downtown, with a movie theater. In addition to that, Fisher set up a $2 million philanthropic fund for revitalization projects.
“So that people, organizations, charities, governments, schools in the town, teachers – anybody who has a good idea that wants to help Point Pleasant Beach but they need a little money, they can come to us and we can help make that happen,” Fisher said.
The mayor is thankful to have a generous neighbor like Fisher.
“Having a fund like this, where we don’t need to dip into our tax dollars to do the little projects that makes things work, I think that it’s invaluable,” said Mayor Paul Kanitra.
A big focus will be beautification projects and restoring historic buildings.
“Back in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, they were slapping vinyl siding on everything, and they covered up a lot of beautiful architectural gems down here,” Kanitra said.
Locals Baker spoke with welcome the help and are excited to showcase the downtown. Most people are more familiar with the beach and boardwalk.
“It injects money. It injects social structure that’s awesome and it allows us to stay on the map, because like you said, we have such great history here,” said Point Pleasant Beach resident Quiavionna Shaughnessy.
“We’ve seen a lot of, like, ups and downs, throughout the years. Especially with Sandy. So we see a lot of people moving towards other districts, because of their revitalizations, and the vibe is a lot, you know, current,” said gallery owner Jim Inzero.
Those involved are looking for people with ideas for murals, new park benches, and other entertainment ideas to regenerate the year-round vibrancy.
Those with an idea can contact the Fisher Family Fund for Point Pleasant Beach by clicking here.