CREST HAVEN – The 45-day comment period began Sept. 26 for five Open Space projects that total nearly $6 million. Four projects are considered parks and recreation, while the remaining two are for historic preservation.
Planning Director Leslie Gimeno presented the potential projects to the Board of County Commissioners.
Parks and Recreation Projects
Woodbine’s Eco-Park, including a Jake’s Law all-inclusive playground for all ages.
Phase one, which includes an ecology-themed park and walk paths on 25 acres, has a recommendation of $484,000.
The added features in the park include pathways and infrastructure to allow access by all through a dry creek bed and forest and meadow area, which has a recommendation for funding of $1.17 million.
Wildwood Crest Arts Pavilion Park, based around the former library, is off the oceanfront bike path. It would provide a bike fix-it station, water and foot-washing area, benches, picnic tables, and a stage and pergola. The total project cost is $1.53 million, with a recommendation for funding of $1.04 million.
Diamond Beach Park in Lower Township on Seaview Avenue would be the only park in that Lower Township community. The park features include two pickleball courts, fitness equipment, playground equipment, and a single-use restroom. Native plantings would add another facet to the facility. The total cost is $1.13 million, with an Open Space recommendation of $846,289.
Sea Isle City Dog Park is to be located on the north end of Landis Avenue between Fourth and Eighth streets. The site has long been used for testing paint chips. That use would be reduced and relocated near Eighth Street.
The facility would have space for dogs of all sizes, a pavilion, picnic tables, and a bike fix-it station.
The total cost is $1.13 million, with funding of $820,000 from Open Space.
Historic Preservation Projects
Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Cape May. Bell tower and façade replacement. The structure, built in 1888, was central to the solid African American community and businesses in that part of the resort from the 18th century until the 1960s.
A fire in 2018 threatened the structure, which has been renovated. It is deemed an essential part of the city’s Historic District designation.
The total project cost is $403,291, with Open Space funding recommended of $240,000.
Tuckahoe Train Station was built in 1894. The building is listed on the state and national Register of Historic Places. Its cedar shingle roof will be replaced. Initially recommended for $35,000 of the total project cost of $45,000, the present recommendation is for an additional $36,500. Signage added $8,500 to the total.
Homelessness Fund Aids 3
The same three households that received county Homelessness Trust Fund aid last year will continue to receive funds this year.
County commissioners approved the recommendations of the Homelessness Trust Fund Advisory Board at their Sept. 26 meeting.
The resolution allows a “not to exceed” sum of $49,080 for “bridge housing” of approved applicants “who are unsheltered during their housing search,” the resolution states.
In addition to the housing, the recipients will get intensive case management from the fund’s case manager. That person’s services were approved “not to exceed” $26,000.
There was also a stipend for staff liaison to the board that can be at most $3,000.
Additionally, there is a one-time “not to exceed” $10,000 allotment for furniture, overdue utility bills, landlord incentives, and “other similar expenses to be approved by the advisory board and/or case manager.”
Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day
The county will mark Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, Oct. 6. On that day, the lives of 44 suspected overdose deaths in Cape May County will be remembered by their loved ones.
A resolution passed by county commissioners notes that the state is “in the midst of a life-threatening opioid abuse epidemic.”
According to the state Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, most of the county’s treatment admissions were for heroin or other opiates in 2022.
The day will focus on raising awareness of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link to heroin use rates.
The board also urges the public to rid households of unused medications in drug drop boxes located in each police department in the county, including the New Jersey State Police station in Woodbine, Village Pharmacy in Marmora, and Walmart in Rio Grande.
South State Inc. Awarded Contract
South State Inc., of Bridgeton, the sole bidder for the Phase One contract to repave Fishing Creek Road (County Road 639) in Lower Township, was awarded the $2.16 million contract Sept. 26 by county commissioners.
The firm was deemed to have met all requirements for eligibility.
Engineering Firm Gets Change Order
The Cherry Hill-based firm KMA Consulting Engineers Inc. had its first change order approved for $76,211 by commissioners. The firm is working on Goshen Road (County Road 615) in Middle Township. According to a resolution, the scope of its design work increased from its original size.
The road connects Court House to Route 47 in Goshen.
Zoo, Monmouth University Link Ok’d
Based in West Long Branch, students at Monmouth University will be permitted to observe animals at the Cape May County Zoo under an agreement approved by commissioners Sept. 26.
The nonprofit private institution of higher learning wants to add a field experience course to its curriculum. Further, the zoo officials are willing to let the students observe the animals.
The board will allow the zoo to enter a memorandum of understanding with the university for the program.