CREST HAVEN – Who doesn’t like a free lunch?
All 16 county municipalities applied by the 5 p.m. April 13 deadline for their maximum amounts from a new county program offering a total $3.8 million this year in grants for “municipal public improvements.”
It has the unwieldy name, Municipal Public Improvements Joint Venture Program.
The county skimmed the money out of its $20-million surplus this year, potentially quieting Democratic complaints it keeps too high a surplus, and schmoozing the towns, which can always use more money.
It may be the most popular thing the county has done since it started having a (free) Senior Jamboree every spring.
Whether the county will be able to afford to do it every year remains to be seen.
Deputy County Administrator Steve Hampton told the Herald that “a brief scan” of the applications indicates all the requests meet guidelines and can be approved.
“Most municipalities have proposed projects for which county funding is only a portion of the overall cost of the projects,” he noted.
The towns will hear back by April 21 and the grants awarded May 9.
There is a phase two in the program if any funds remain, but that now seems unlikely and unnecessary.
The county’s “program guide” says the purpose is to “support municipal recreation projects” and “enhance the recreation opportunities for area residents and visitors.
No money will go for operations or maintenance.
Each town’s share of the $3.8 million was based on how much its residents paid in county taxes, which, in turn, was based on its total ratables. Towns that would have received less than $50,000 were bumped up to that minimum.
In alphabetical order, here’s who applied for how much to do what:
Avalon: $653,080, construct a public park and open air pavilion at a Veterans Plaza, 21st and Dune Drive.
Cape May: $252,373 for a gateway project at the entrance to the city that includes streetscape, bridge enhancements, lighting, signage and landscaping.
Cape May Point: $50,000 for a recreation and education park on county open space land at the lighthouse and Coral Avenue.
Dennis Township: $50,000 for access improvements, playground equipment and safety improvements at the Chestnut Street Park.
Lower Township: $178,602 for a recreation facility at Bennett’s Crossing.
Middle Township: $128,056 to extend the bike path for more than two miles from Goshen Road to Shellbay Avenue.
North Wildwood: $94,996 to replace a deteriorated bulkhead in the existing municipal waterfront park on the bay between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
Ocean City: three projects: $625,000 to convert the existing public works area and vacant lot into a championship soccer field on Tennessee Avenue; $220,000 to construct a passive recreation area with open-air stage at Gateway Park on Ninth Street and West Avenue; $83,919 to reconstruct a hockey rink and building open air pavilion at the 52nd Street playground.
Sea Isle City: $418,055 to build a “state-of-the-art” playground at Dealy Field, Central Avenue between 59th and 63rd streets.
Stone Harbor: $426,416 to install a new above-grade fishing pier, provide a walkway, benches and gazebo at the municipal marina , 80th and 81st streets and the bay.
Upper Township: $106,584 to construct an in-line/street hockey rink at Amanda’s Field recreation area on county open space land in Petersburg.
West Cape May: two projects: $36,500 to install a bandstand and landscape to create a park between the municipal building on Broadway, and $10,361 to complete improvements to the playground at the elementary school on Fifth Avenue.
West Wildwood: $50,000 for improvements to the public fishing pier at Arion Avenue and the bay.
Wildwood: $207,000 for a recreation and community center at Maxwell Field.
Wildwood Crest: $156,732 to construct a beachfront fitness park on Ocean Avenue betwee Palm and Forget-Me-Not roads.
Woodbine: $50,000 to construct a community and school recreation center as an addtion to the Woodbine Elementary School at 801 Webster St.
Contact Zelnik at (609) 886-8600 Ext. 27 or: firstname.lastname@example.org
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