The votes are in: Red Bank ekes out Asbury Park as best downtown in Central Jersey

    Red Bank is the best downtown in Central Jersey, according to voters who participated in an online competition sponsored by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ). 

    Red Bank, Asbury Park, and Somerville competed for the designation in the 2014 People’s Choice Awards for Great Downtowns in New Jersey. The competition also included downtowns in North Jersey and South Jersey. 

    But the Central Jersey voting turned out to be razor thin, with Red Bank beating Asbury Park and Somerville by 35 and 55 votes, respectively. The public cast 6,885 votes in that category. 

    “Red Bank is an historic downtown with an array of boutiques and shops to surprise you, restaurants that delight the taste buds, entertainment opportunities that rival NYC, and world class events,” wrote a voter identified as J.S.

    In North Jersey, Hoboken claimed the prize, while Asbury Avenue in Ocean City won in South Jersey. 

    11,421 online ballots were cast in the competition between Aug. 22 and Sept. 26. Each winner will receive a plaque at a local award ceremony, a place on APA-NJ’s Great Places Map and, of course, bragging rights.

    “I’m really not surprised at the level of interest that this competition has generated,” said Charles Latini, Jr., APA-NJ’s president. “When downtowns are truly great, people love and support them.”

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