By Donald Wittkowski
New decorative lighting for Sea Isle City’s oceanfront Promenade and the downtown business district tops a list of big-ticket projects that will be funded by a $4.4 million bond ordinance introduced Tuesday by City Council.
Road construction, lagoon dredging projects, a series of improvements to public facilities and some preliminary money for the city’s first dog park are also included in the funding ordinance.
The location for the dog park has not yet been decided, but the city is spending $25,000 to begin the planning process.
The bond ordinance also includes $102,000 to buy more of the popular “Mobi-Mats” that make it easier for everyone – especially senior citizens or people with disabilities – to enjoy the beaches without having to trudge all the way through the thick, powdery sand.
Council introduced the bond ordinance 4-0 on Tuesday, setting the stage for a public hearing and final vote during its July 24 meeting.
Most notable is the city’s plan to spend $1.6 million for new decorative lighting along a section of the Promenade as well as throughout the commercial areas of town.
The lighting will be similar to the black, Victorian-style street lamps that illuminate the John F. Kennedy Boulevard entranceway into town and parts of the downtown business district on Landis Avenue, City Business Administrator George Savastano said.
On the Promenade, new lighting is planned between 35th and 44th streets. The city has been brightening up the Promenade with new lights to make the tourist haven both safer and more attractive.
The city will also continue with its program to add more decorative street lighting along the Landis Avenue business corridor and other commercial hubs in town.
Under the bond ordinance, the city also plans to spend about $1.1 million for new equipment, vehicles and a flood-warning system.
A $350,000 vacuum truck to clean out sewer and storm drains would be among the biggest purchases. It would replace an old vacuum truck that has taken “a beating” during its 11 years of heavy use, Savastano said.
As described during a presentation last month before City Council, the flood-warning system would include 56 flashing signs scattered throughout town in neighborhoods most vulnerable to storm water.
The yellow signs would warn motorists with the words, “Road Flooded When Flashing.” City officials said the flood-warning system would cost $160,000 and would be the biggest of its type for any municipality in New Jersey.
Sea Isle, a low-lying barrier island, struggles with flooding even during moderate rain storms. The warning system would give motorists advance notice of flooding based on storm conditions and the weather forecast.
Meanwhile, after listening to complaints from local residents about the difficulties of walking through the deep beach sand, City Council and Mayor Leonard Desiderio’s administration have agreed to buy more of the handicap-accessible Mobi-Mats this year.
The non-slip mobility mats look like bright blue carpet strips from a distance. They lie on top of the sand, providing an easier transition from the gravel pathways over the dunes to the beaches.
Before, the mats were used at six handicap-accessible beaches along Sea Isle’s 4.5-mile shoreline from First to 94th streets. Now, they have been placed at intervals of about every three blocks between 29th and 91st streets. They remain at the handicap-accessible beaches.
Ultimately, the city’s goal is to have the mats on every beach. The $102,000 in funding in the bond ordinance for new Mobi-Mats will help buy more of them for the 2019 summer season, Savastano explained.