Raising the landmark gazebo on the Promenade is one of the concepts under consideration.


Sea Isle City officials are exploring ways to improve the views of the beach and ocean for the public, including the possibility of raising one of the Promenade’s best-known landmarks.

They stressed that some of the ideas are strictly preliminary at this time and would depend in large part on the city receiving grant funding from either Cape May County or the state.

One of the more intriguing concepts is the possibility of elevating the decorative gazebo that serves as a backdrop for countless photo ops in the heart of the Promenade at John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

Sea Isle is applying for money from the state’s newly created $100 million Boardwalk Preservation Fund to make the oceanfront Promenade more inviting to the pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers and shoppers who use the 1.5-mile walkway every year.

Mayor Leonard Desiderio has said that Sea Isle hopes to secure millions of dollars in Boardwalk Preservation funding for a series of improvements. They would include decorative lighting at both ends of the Promenade, additional handicap-accessible ramps and the resurfacing of the entire walkway from 29th Street to 57th Street.

During a discussion at the Feb. 13 meeting of City Council, the possibility of raising the gazebo was mentioned by Councilman Jack Gibson as another “concept” for improving the Promenade as well as the views of the beach and ocean for the public. Gibson did not say how high the gazebo might be elevated if the project is ever done.

Raising the gazebo, though, is not considered one of the top priorities for the Promenade’s improvement. At this time, the city’s main focus would be to add decorative lighting, make structural repairs to the Promenade’s bulkheads and to resurface the entire walkway, City Business Administrator George Savastano said.

The Promenade is a popular spot for residents and visitors to go for a walk.

Savastano said the city would also consider the possibility of building oceanside pavilions along the Promenade if Sea Isle is awarded money from the Boardwalk Preservation Fund. However, he stressed that the pavilions are not considered a high priority at this point.

“It’s just an idea. If we get the money, we’ll do it,” Savastano said in an interview after the Council meeting.

Desiderio noted that Sea Isle likely would have to go through a rigorous regulatory review process from the state Department of Environmental Protection if it wanted to build any pavilions. He doubted that the agency would approve the construction of pavilions on the environmentally sensitive beach or dunes.

“I view it as a longshot. I give Washington a better chance of winning the World Series,” Desiderio said in an interview.

City officials did not mention where any of the pavilions might be built. One property owner, Claudia Vanderslice, expressed concern during the Feb. 13 Council meeting about a pavilion possibly being built in front of her beachfront condo at 44th Street. She was worried that a pavilion would block her view of the ocean.

City officials assured Vanderslice that there are no plans to build a pavilion overlooking the ocean at 44th Street.

In an interview after the Council meeting, Vanderslice said she was relieved to hear that the city does not plan to have a pavilion at 44th Street. At the same time, she said she is worried that the construction of pavilions on the beach or dunes at any place in Sea Isle could harm the environment.

“It’s a dangerous precedent to set once you do it,” she said. “It’s going to take away from the town and nature.”

Sea Isle’s dog park is under construction between Sixth and Eighth streets along Landis Avenue in the north end of town. (Photo courtesy of Sea Isle City)

Sea Isle, meanwhile, is considering other ways for improving the views of the beach and ocean for the public. During the Feb. 13 Council meeting, city officials described plans to build a pavilion, or “viewing platform,” overlooking the beach at Fifth Street and Landis Avenue, across the street from the city’s new dog park that will open later this year.

The city is trying to secure funding for the viewing platform from the Cape May County Open Space Review Board. The project would also include handicap access to the viewing platform and beach.

At one point, the city had proposed building a handicap-accessible observation tower high enough to peer over the surrounding dunes and marshlands. The tower would have provided panoramic views of the ocean to the east and the back bays to the west. The observation tower was later nixed in favor of a shorter viewing platform.

Earlier, the county’s Open Space Review Board approved $850,000 in funding for construction of the dog park. The $968,000 project will be located along Landis Avenue between Sixth and Eighth streets in the northern end of town. It is currently under construction and is expected to be finished in time for the summer tourism season.