By John Burton
SEA BRIGHT – Sea Bright’s business district has brighter days ahead.
The town is getting a much welcomed makeover, courtesy of Benjamin Moore paint company which chose the borough as one of 20 towns across the nation and Canada to win its Main Street Matters contest.
The company announced Monday that the small beachfront community, hit especially hard by Super Storm Sandy last October, would have the exterior of buildings in the business district repainted with some repairs, courtesy of the company, headquartered in Montvale. The work will be done within a year.
“This is fantastic news. People are jumping up and down,” said Mayor Dina Long said.
Sea Bright has been rebuilding – repairing businesses and homes slowly in its return to normalcy following the devastation caused by the storm.
“This is a big deal,” said Long, who has continued to rally residents as rebuilding goes on.
Long was talking with a resident about the win on Monday who told her “We really needed a win.”
“This is a great win, a great opportunity for the community,” the mayor said.
The contest required the public to vote on which main streets – downtown areas – of the more than 100 North American cities nominated should be revitalized with the assistance of Benjamin Moore.
According to information on Benjamin Moore’s website, the effort was undertaken with the support of a number of partnering organizations, including Make It Right, founded by actor Brad Pitt, and through the efforts of Benjamin Moore paint distributors – like Bain’s Hardware at 1092 Ocean Ave. “It’s wonderful and we’re very excited about it,” said owner Frank Bain. “What could be bad? Who wouldn’t want a new paint job, right?”
“We were delighted” that Sea Bright made the list, said Nick Harris, vice president of marketing for Benjamin Moore. He said the New Jersey-based company considers Sea Bright a neighbor and finds it rewarding to help the borough recover. “If it was our choice, Sea Bright would have been on the list.”
That feeling, he said, was clearly shared by the voting public, as Sea Bright garnered votes from across the U.S. and Canada, he said. “Clearly, the collective conscience across North America was coming to bear there,” Harris said.
The company has declined to make public the number of votes each community received.
Long said she and other officials have been using Facebook and Twitter to aggressively promote the voting. “The people of Sea Bright and the people who support Sea Bright really made this happen,” she said.
Benjamin Moore, its color experts and downtown consultants will work with the community and local contractors to provide paint and supplies for facades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trim to enhance architectural style and regional influences, according to the company.
Sea Bright, along with the official notification on Monday, received a video camera to begin documenting its story, Long said.
“We’re hoping for a little bit of creative content there,” said Harris. The videos from the 20 winning communities eventually will be available on the contest website.
“This investment we’re making in communities around North America is core to our business and to who we are,” said David Melacon, Benjamin Moore’s chief marketing officer in a released statement. “Main Streets make us who we are and we’re proud to honor that with this effort.”
The other communities winning are: Attleboro, Mass.; Flint, Mich.; Ellicott City, Md.; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Hilo, Hawaii; Greeley, Colo.; Hawley, Pa.; Joplin, Missouri; Macon, Ga.; Martinez, Calif.; Nyack, N.Y.; Penticton, British Columbia; Placerville, Calif.; Sanford, N.C.; Sheboygan, Wis.; Stouffville, Ontario; Texarkana, Texas; Westerly, R.I.; and Xenia, Ohio.