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Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Wildwood Crest Continues Capital Projects

Wildwood Crest is working on projects across the borough. Here's the latest update on several of them.

By Christopher South

WILDWOOD CREST – The borough is looking at both large and small projects that require working with various federal, state and local governments.  
Wildwood Crest is focused on two road projects involving county roads, dredging of the Intercoastal Waterway and at least two projects that include sand dunes.  
Borough Administrator Connie Mahon told the Board of Commissioners Aug. 24 that the borough expects to soon go out to bid for 11 beach end bump-outs south of Rambler Road. The Crest was approved for a $2.5 million grant from the Cape May County Open Space program to construct the bump-outs.  
A bump-out is a transitional area constructed at street ends. Mahon described them as ADA-accessible decks placed on pilings that extend into the dune area, which was permitted by the state Division of Land Use. The bump-outs would allow for easier loading and unloading. They would have seating, bike racks, showers, trash cans, planters and even a shaded place.
“The bump-outs will give people more space at the end of the beach – a little room to maneuver – shower off, and perhaps sit and view the beach. It will provide a very attractive entrance to the beach,” Mahon said. 
Pacific Avenue
The borough is anticipating Phase 2 of Pacific Avenue reconstruction, involving the southern portion of town. A county project, the work has been scheduled to begin after Labor Day and will include the area from Rambler Road south to Jefferson Avenue at the border with Lower Township.  
As part of a two-year project, the borough already replaced some sewer and drainage to coincide with the county’s plan to resurface Pacific Avenue.
New Jersey Avenue
The borough is hosting a public hearing Sept. 7 on the redevelopment zone along New Jersey Avenue. The plan is similar to what is happening on Pacific Avenue. As New Jersey Avenue is a county road scheduled for reconstruction, the borough will conduct sewer and drainage improvements in tandem with the county’s work. With New Jersey Avenue though, the borough hopes to enhance the downtown area between Wisteria and Heather roads.
“We are looking at enhancing the area to make it a vibrant downtown,” Mahon said.  
The project involves a “road diet,” that is, narrowing the road and creating a traffic-calming island in the middle of the roadway. It also would create a new parking area. The borough acquired a couple of lots in the area that will become public parking. Reconstruction of the roadway is scheduled to begin in late 2023 or early 2024.
As part of the redevelopment, the borough plans to ask the public to consider a referendum reversing the borough’s longstanding prohibition on the sale of alcohol. Triad Associates developed a “Liquor License Economic Analysis Report,” available on the borough’s website.  
A public hearing on the entire redevelopment plan will be held at the Sept. 7 meeting of the Planning Board at Borough Hall, beginning at 5 p.m.
Dune construction
Mahon said she speaks every week with the state Division of Coastal Engineering about dune construction. North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest have signed state aid agreements for beach nourishment, although Wildwood Crest will not be receiving sand under the agreement.  
“In our case, it’s to remove sand and create a dune system,” Mahon said.
Wildwood and Lower Township continue to negotiate their state aid agreements. Once the state has the signed agreements it will work on the acquisition of easements. The anticipated date of initial construction is late 2023, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) website.
Sunset Lake dredging
The Borough continues working with the state’s Office of Maritime Resources, the DEP Office of Sediment and Dredging Technology and the Crest’s dredging committee to have the state dredge and realign its channel.  
Meetings for permits and project details are ongoing. Dredging is anticipated to start sometime in 2023 or 2024.
According to Mahon, the state is still looking for a site for a confined disposal facility where they will place the dredged material.
CAFRA applications
The borough was denied a Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) permit for a previously installed storage area adjacent to the beach patrol building.
Wildwood Crest will file an application for five other projects. Permits are needed for dune and beach maintenance activities, bike path improvements, widening the pedestrian access through dunes north of Rambler Road, improvements at the old library site and water main looping.
Mahon said a lot of water mains dead end. Looping the water main allows for better flow. 
Have any thoughts and/or information on this story? Email csouth@cmcherald.com.

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