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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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N. Wildwood Memorial Park Nears Final Approval

An artist’s rendering of the 40-foot welcome tower.   

By Collin Hall

NORTH WILDWOOD – A new veterans park, complete with new streetlights, a 40-foot memorial tower, banner poles, benches, floral overhangs, bike parking, and improved parking and traffic flow might soon come to North Wildwood between Spruce Avenue and Anglesea Drive.  

City Council voted July 5 to approve final plans that would appear before Cape May County’s Open Space Review Board in August. 

City Engineer Jim Verna presented artist’s renderings of the park before the council. 

The park is designed to commemorate veterans, specifically “Gold Star” veterans, who were killed in service to the U.S.  

Ceremonial groundbreaking on the project took place Memorial Day weekend. Several families of Gold Star veterans were present at the ceremony.  

“It was very emotional,” said City Administrator Nicholas Long. 

The park would significantly improve the entrance to North Wildwood, Long told the Herald.  

He said that the park has already appeared before the Open Space board, but the plans were sent back for revision because of two parcels of land that contain hazardous materials or are otherwise unusable because they are caught up in litigation. 

The Open Space board has thus far been receptive of the proposal. Long said that he expects the park to proceed, and that funding would be announced in December 2022 or January 2023 if the project advances. 

The memorial park has been in the planning stages for nearly two years, and most of the funding, should Open Space accept the project in its current form, will come from the county.  

He said the city will also continue to seek grants to help fund the project.  

The project’s final cost is not yet clear.  

Long said that the Open Space Board has been especially interested in the project because of its intense dedication to veterans. 

“They’ve never done anything like a veterans memorial before; they have been very interested in being a partner on this project,” he said. 

The 40-foot tower, which says “welcome” in flag code on its side, would greet visitors as they drive into North Wildwood from North Wildwood Boulevard. The project would bring significant changes to the area’s atmosphere.  

William Davenport, the head of a local veterans organization, has been a significant contributor to the project. Davenport raised funds for the Gold Star memorial wall that would sit in the new park and has received “handshake” guarantees from local contractors to help with the wall’s installation.  

Long said that ground will hopefully break on the park in fall 2023, with an optimistic completion date by Memorial Day 2024. 

To contact Collin Hall, email chall@cmcherald.com. 

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