By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Picturesque views of the bays, spectacular sunsets and maybe some star gazing at night, too.
Sea Isle City’s combination fishing pier and kayak launch facility overlooking the back bays will offer plenty for anglers and nature lovers to do during the daytime, but it will also be an attraction at night.
The city is planning to enhance the Boardwalk-style structure with decorative lighting. City Council is expected to award a $62,000 lighting contract at its meeting on Tuesday.
“We expect that our long-awaited fishing pier and kayak launch facility will get a lot of use during the daytime hours, but having lighting at night will allow anglers to also catch fish after the sun goes down,” city spokeswoman Katherine Custer said.
The nearly $1 million project is in the final stages of construction and tentatively scheduled to open in March near 60th Street at the city’s Dealy Field recreation and athletic complex.
Originally scheduled to open last year, the project was slowed down by delays in getting construction materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project includes the fishing pier and a handicap-accessible launch facility for kayaks and paddleboards. Decorative lighting will be another touch.
“The lights will accentuate an already beautiful facility and offer more opportunity for people to enjoy the new pier,” Custer said.
It also has a “passive pier” featuring a covered pavilion. Extending 132 feet out into the bay, the pier promises to give anglers and nature lovers panoramic views of the back bay, marshlands, wildlife and sunsets.
Mayor Leonard Desiderio believes it will also be the setting for an occasional marriage proposal, so ecstatic couples exchanging kisses and flashy diamond engagement rings may be part of the pier scene.
“It’s going to be a great attraction,” Desiderio said in an earlier interview. “So many people like to go out in the bay in kayaks. It’s going to be a feather in our cap, another A-1 star attraction in Sea Isle.”
Crowded with upscale homes, Sea Isle’s bayfront offers few places where kayakers, paddleboarders and anglers have public access to the water. The new fishing pier and kayak launch facility will give the public a prime location to enjoy the back bays.
A communitywide survey conducted in 2015 included responses from local residents urging the city to create more access to the bayfront as a way to enhance recreation, including kayaking.