Cross-shaped pier opens in Ocean Grove

When the design plans for the pier were released in July of last year, some residents objected to the religious connotations associated with the shape of the structure.

Lauren Pena and Ali Reid

Apr 16, 2023, 4:36 PM

Updated 459 days ago

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A cross-shaped pier that generated some controversy has debuted in Ocean Grove.
Since it’s destruction during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Ocean Grove pier has been due for a remodeling. However, when design plans were released in July of last year, some residents objected to the religious connotations associated with the shape of the structure.
While critics raised concerns about the appropriateness of placing religious symbolism in a public space, officials with the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association defended the design.
"We make no apology for that. We love the fact that it looks like a cross," said Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association COO Jamie Jackson. "This is a religious town, and most people are excited.”
Ocean Grove is considered a religious area by many. Its public beaches are closed on Sunday mornings so town residents can attend church.
The association’s president Michael Badger also stated that the design was largely due to engineering.
“We started out planning to just rebuild what we had before, a straight out line. But as we were going through the process, we asked how we can get more views, angles, places for instrumentation,” he said. “You don’t have to say a prayer, you don’t have to belong to a church, you don’t have to pay any money just go out there.”
The pier was originally set to open Memorial Day weekend, but it was completed early. A number of residents could be seen enjoying the new attraction following its debut on Saturday.
“As long as it works well, I don't really care,” said Scarsdale resident Oliver Stebich. “If it happens to be in the shape of a cross, fine. There will be a lot more fishing space. A lot more people will be out there to enjoy the water."
“I’m fine with what’s out there. I understand others may have a difference of opinion, but that’s the way life is,” said former Ocean Grove Fishing Club president Leonard Pugliese.


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