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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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2-block Parking Lane Gone in Cape May, Walkers to be Protected by Barrier

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By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – Parking will get a tad tighter in the Nation’s Oldest Seashore Resort.
Freeholders approved a request by the Cape May City Council June 9 to eliminate parking on the north side of Beach Avenue, a county road, for two blocks between Perry and Decatur streets. The elimination of parking spaces will be effective from June 15 to Sept. 8. Drivers searching for a parking spot can blame COVID-19. 
The action stemmed from the county’s Business Recovery Task Force, which sought to aid the local economy by assisting businesses hard-hit by closure orders that resulted from the virus. 
Pedestrians will benefit from the action since the city and freeholders agreed to permit a concrete barrier to be placed. That will permit “sufficient space for safe pedestrian circulations, social distancing, and economic activity,” according to the resolution.
The former “parking lane” will be used “solely for the access of pedestrians and not for commercial use or staging,” the resolution states.
It will remain in the city’s purview to coordinate business delivery access while the barrier is in place. 
Conceptual plans for the barrier were prepared by the County Engineer’s Office and endorsed by the city and its fire chief, who did not comment, the resolution states. 
Reopening Actions
Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton reported to the board, at the Zoom meeting, that he again quizzed the governor’s office staff about reopening the County Zoo. Again, the response was no (the zoo is scheduled to reopen June 13, according to a release). 
However, the Tree-to-Tree Adventure was granted permission to reopen at the County Park, something that Freeholder E. Marie Hayes questioned at recent meetings. Meanwhile, other outdoor amusements and water parks remain closed. 
Further, Hayes noted, County Park personnel were granted permission to resume booking reservations for the picnic pavilions and gazebo in the pond.
The board passed a resolution that adopted the “Safely Together” reopening campaign. Freeholder Will Morey stated that a webinar is planned in the next week to unveil the project.
That endeavor will include the creation and use of messaging and information to aid residents and visitors in the county’s reopening. Morey added that the program was forwarded to the state in hopes that it would be adopted on a larger basis.
Further, the program encourages the public, businesses, and municipalities to share “Safely Together” signage that will be found at www.safelytogethercmc.com.
Morey said a telephone call with the governor’s chief of staff was planned for late afternoon June 11. During that call, he said it was his intent to discuss the reopening of indoor dining and amusements.
Returning to Work, Meetings
Thornton reported that plans are being made to bring county employees back to their offices in split shifts. 
In addition, he said, “There’s definitely going to be some definite changes on how we meet here.”
Once employees return, arrangements will be made how the public will be able to attend freeholder meetings, he noted. 
He urged that Zoom meetings continue until the last June meeting.
“Then we can make a decision about how we go into July. It’s important that we start having our meetings together and with separation.”
Support Bayshore Byway
The board passed a resolution supporting the designation of the Bayshore Heritage Byway, a 142-mile route along the state’s southwestern coastline, passing through 19 municipalities in Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties. 
The board expressed support for the federal designation of the byway as an “All-American Road” to enhance recognition of the county’s and region’s natural and historic heritage.
In Cape May County, some of the attractions include the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Cape May Point State Park, Naval Air Station Wildwood, and Historic Cold Spring Village. 

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