By Maddy Vitale
The dead, leafless trees along JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue are gone now.
Being planted in their place are dozens of new maples and magnolias that will give Sea Isle City’s main entryway an eye-catching canopy of green.
“Not only will these new trees beautify our city’s main entrance, they will also add shade during the summer months and serve as habitat for local wildlife,” Sea Isle Public Information Officer Katherine Custer said.
In January, City Council authorized the award of a $98,000 contract for the tree planting project to Think Pavers Hardscaping, LLC, of Mount Royal, N.J.
The project began on April 8 and includes the planting of 40 Trident Maple trees on JFK Boulevard (both north and south sides) as well as 35 Sweetbay Magnolia trees on Landis Avenue (both east and west sides from 39th Street to 43rd Street).
Planting is anticipated to be completed by the end of April. However, weather could impact that end date, Custer noted.
The contract includes a two-year maintenance plan that will start upon acceptance of planting.
Custer said that the trees are salt-tolerant and conducive for the shore environment.
“The planting process is currently underway, but I am not sure when the project will be completed. Weather is a factor, etc., but obviously they already have numerous trees in place,” she pointed out.
The old trees that died were leftovers from the multimillion-dollar “Beach to Bay” beautification of JFK Boulevard, which was completed in 2013. A series of road, landscaping, safety and municipal projects were added to the central corridor stretching from the city’s marina to the beachfront Promenade over a five-year span.
“Mayor (Leonard) Desiderio wanted all of the trees along JFK Boulevard to be the same species to add visual impact when you enter Sea Isle City via the causeway bridge,” Custer said. “I can’t wait until the fall to see the maple trees in their autumn splendor.”
Desiderio said in his Mayor’s Message posted on the city website Thursday, “Like everyone else who has been involved with this important beautification project, I am greatly looking forward to seeing our new maple trees flourish during the spring and summer months – and provide us with spectacular color in the autumn.”
The planting project was a collaboration between different members of the community.
“Representatives from Sea Isle City’s Department of Public Works, Environmental Commission, Shade Tree Committee and Green Team worked together to bring this project to fruition – and the results are already very impressive,” Custer emphasized.
She said the plantings are having a positive impact on the city’s Arbor Day Celebration.
“Because of this major tree planting project, Sea Isle City’s Historical Society, Garden Club and Environmental Commission recently decided to relocate their April 26 Arbor Day Celebration from the Library on Central Avenue to Sea Isle’s Community Lodge on JFK Boulevard so they can highlight the new trees during their event,” Custer said. “And, in the true spirit of Arbor Day, they will be distributing free tree seedlings to people who attend the Arbor Day Celebration.”
The Arbor Day Celebration is co-hosted by the Historical Society, Garden Club and Environmental Commission.