By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Sea Isle City’s beauty is not limited to the beaches, bays and ocean – and for more than 30 years there has been a contest to prove it.
With some meticulous judging of landscaping, decorations and overall appearance, the city’s Environmental Commission showcases the most attractive homes and businesses in town with the 33rd annual Beautification Awards.
“Local properties (businesses or private homes) that have shown improvement in their overall appearance, display attractive architecture and landscaping, or have maintained an eye-catching appearance will be considered for this yearly honor,” the Environmental Commission said in a statement.
Nominations for this year’s awards are underway and continue until Sept. 9. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to nominate a property they feel should be considered for an award. Property owners may nominate their own homes or businesses.
Nomination forms are available at the Sea Isle City Welcome Center’s walk-up window, in the lobby of City Hall, and online at www.seaislecitynj.us (click the “Forms/Tourism” link on the home page). Nomination forms must be submitted by Sept. 9.
Eight winners will be selected and will receive hand-painted plaques and $30 gift certificates to Seagrove Nursery in Ocean View. For more information, call (609) 263-3537.
Dudley McGinty, an Environmental Commission member who oversees the awards, said the contest allows homeowners to show off their property in a way “that makes it look like it belongs in the neighborhood.”
“Mostly, it’s landscaping, flowers, shrubbery and lawns,” he explained in an interview Sunday.
However, another way that homeowners may win is by refurbishing their property to make it even more appealing, he noted.
The Beautification Awards originally were the idea of Kathy Giebel and Shirley Dunn, who founded the Environmental Commission in 1985, McGinty said.
Annette Lombardo, who serves as chair of the Environmental Committee, said the Beautification Awards recognize homeowners and businesses for the effort they put in to spruce up their properties.
“The people here in town take pride in their houses, even if they just put a couple of pots of flowers on the step,” she said. “It just makes it brighter and cheerier instead of having the same look. We give the awards to businesses, too, because a lot of businesses take pride.”
Lombardo pointed out that there are environmental benefits associated with the contest, as well as adding to the beauty of the community.
“It’s better for the environment. The more plants and trees you have, the better it is for the environment,” she said. “More people are putting in grass, trees and shrubbery, not stones.”
The Environmental Commission decided to stage the awards this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Lombardo said people are generally spending more time gardening and beautifying their properties because they have been staying at home more during the pandemic.
“The garden centers have really been packed. It’s been one of the better years they’ve had,” she said of the demand for flowers, plants and other landscaping.