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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Rio Grande-Ocean Entrance Delayed

By Rick Racela

WILDWOOD – A million-dollar entranceway project at Rio Grande and Ocean avenues near the boardwalk and the convention center will have to wait a while longer for construction to begin. John Siciliano, executive director of the Wildwoods Convention Center, said at the Feb. 16 board meeting of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA) that they received three bids. However, Siciliano said the low bid was “nonresponsive” because it was not complete and the other two bids both exceeded the funds allocated for the project.  “The bids were rejected based on the certifiable funds,” he told the Herald. “Our next step is to sit down with the architect and engineer and then we’ll rebid.” This means that the entranceway construction would not begin in the spring as expected. “There’s just no way we could get everything done in time,” he said. The entranceway project was delayed once before when the bid documents, prepared by the firm of Remington & Vernick, were held up until January. According to Siciliano, the documents were supposed to be completed in November of 2005 so construction could begin around the start of this year. Siciliano said that the “worst-case scenario” would be that the project would most likely begin next fall. Siciliano had announced in October that, with the approval of $600,000 in funds from GWTIDA and a $300,000 grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the venture was ready to move forward. A $150,000 sponsorship sign was still being finalized.  Siciliano also reiterated, “This project is only concerning the area between Ocean Avenue and the boardwalk.” In other business, Siciliano told the board that he met with the New Jersey Firemen’s Association on Feb. 14 to discuss its 2006 convention and housing needs.  In order to manage any housing problems that may arise, Siciliano said that all housing requests and requirements should be sent to the convention center. “We will be handling it,” he told the board.  A letter will be distributed to the association with more information regarding housing for the upcoming convention, said Siciliano. After last year’s convention, the Firemen’s Association was planning on creating a new housing committee in charge of brainstorming a new location for the 2010 convention. The committee was created in response to the Sept. 17 voice vote in which over 7,000 delegates spoke out on their opinion of returning to Wildwood after 2009. According to Siciliano, no committee has been created to date. In another matter, GWTIDA passed a resolution that designates the executive director as the spokesperson for the authority.  Board members agreed that they should adhere to a protocol on who speaks for the authority and is responsible for the flow of information to the public. In the absence of the executive director, the chairperson will be the official spokesperson. Contact Huggins at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 25 or lhuggins@cmcherald.com 

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