Mayor Leonard Desiderio

Following a weekend highlighted by beautiful summer weather, on Monday afternoon many of us gathered in front of our Sea Isle City Beach Patrol headquarters to honor (and surprise) Beach Patrol Chief Renny Steele, who is celebrating his 50th year as a lifeguard in Sea Isle City.

Chief Steele’s five decades with the SICBP have established him as the longest-serving lifeguard in Sea Isle City history, and has made him one of the most well-known city employees our community has ever had.

To thank Chief Steele for his service to the people of Sea Isle City – including the 35 years that he has been at the helm of the SICBP – we presented him with an official “Key to the City” and we hung a new street sign on the Promenade in front of Beach Patrol headquarters that reads “Chief Renny Steele Way.”

My congratulations go to Chief Steele on his 50th Anniversary, and I wish him ongoing success as he continues to lead our beach patrol into the future.

Also on Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted a socially-distanced “Mobile Pep Rally” along Fish Alley and other streets of our community.

The event was a huge success that delighted countless people along the 1.5-mile parade route – thanks to the hilarious antics of “Gritty” the Mascot and an array of other representatives from the Flyers organization, including Flyers legend Bob Kelly.

My thanks go to the Philadelphia Flyers for coming to town and celebrating with our residents and visitors, and also to our municipal employees who helped make the event possible, including the members of our Police Department, Volunteer Fire Department, Division of EMS, Department of Public Works – and special thanks to Bill Kehner and Christie Ostrander in our Division of Recreation for organizing the event. Thank you all!

Following that very busy Monday afternoon, Architect Henry Hengchua delivered a special presentation during Tuesday morning’s City Council meeting, which outlined the concept plan we have created for Sea Isle City’s future Community Center at 4501 Park Road (on the site of the former public school building).

It’s important to point out that the plans for that facility are still in the early stages of development – and there is still more decision-making to do.

However, we are greatly looking forward to constructing a Community Center that will fill all of Sea Isle’s recreation and civic needs.

That being said, the facility we have in mind will include a large gymnasium with an elevated walking track, spacious meeting rooms, a large work-out room for our popular fitness programs, and other worthwhile amenities – all on the same footprint as the existing school building.

If all goes well and the process for constructing our future Community Center continues as we hope, we anticipate hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility in the spring of 2023.

In the meantime, we will keep everyone aware of the progress of this important project as our plans unfold.

Like you, I look forward to the time when the COVID-19 pandemic is not on our minds every day of the week – or in my newsletter messages to the people of Sea Isle City.

Unfortunately, it remains a topic that dominates the world and affects how we must plan for the immediate and long-term future.

Case in point, we have decided to cancel several autumn events that we feel would be impossible to host in a safe or sensible manner, including the Sea Isle City Foodie Weekend event (food truck festival) on September 11 and 12, our annual Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony on September 12, and the 30th Annual Italian Festival and Parade on October 3.

As is the case when announcing any cancellations, this news is obviously disappointing, but please keep in mind that we must act in the best interest of the people of Sea Isle City and its visitors.

And speaking of the autumn season, we anticipate that more people than usual are likely to be in Sea Isle City this fall, because a number of folks have told us that they plan to work remotely from their shore homes in the months ahead – and some families are considering home-schooling their children here in Sea Isle rather than returning to their school districts outside of Cape May County.

Of course, everyone is welcome in Sea Isle City during any time of year, but along the way we all must continue to follow the rules that will help us stop the spread of the Coronavirus, including practicing social distancing and wearing face masks in public.

By doing so, we show respect for others and we let the world know that cooperation, courtesy for our neighbors, and common sense are the hallmarks of our community.

We have two “Shout Outs” this week.

The first is for Donna Hart, of Sinking Springs, PA, who told us that she very much enjoys our E-Newsletter and is grateful for the information it provides.

The second is for Frank Bell, of Sea Isle City, who also told us that he enjoys reading our newsletter.

Additionally, Mr. Bell has concerns about people using grills on their outside decks and balconies, due to the potential danger that improperly using grills can present. I very much appreciate Mr. Bell’s comments and remind everyone to use extreme caution whenever you use a barbecue grill – and to remember that grills can be dangerous when not operated properly, regularly maintained, and sufficiently cleaned.

As always, please stay safe, stay well, remain optimistic, and remember that we are all one Sea Isle City and together we will be stronger than ever!

Smile … You’re in Sea Isle!

Mayor Leonard C. Desiderio