By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Sea Isle City is planning to give the heart of the downtown business district a bit more curb appeal by adding new decorative lighting and streetscaping along the Landis Avenue corridor.
City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to seek a $1.5 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to fund the proposed project.
The city wants to extend the streetscaping and decorative lighting on Landis Avenue currently in place between 39th and 43rd streets downtown.
The NJDOT grant would allow the city to extend the streetscaping and lighting northward from 39th Street to 37th Street and southward from 43rd Street to 45th Street, Mayor Leonard Desiderio said.
Desiderio said the new areas proposed for the streetscaping and lighting improvements would look “absolutely the same” as the current section of Landis Avenue between 39th and 43rd streets.
“I think it looks beautiful. We want to extend the streetscaping and lighting to make it look even better. We always want to make improvements,” he said in an interview after the Council meeting.
Similar streetscaping projects have been praised for making the downtown district and other commercial areas a more inviting place to shop, dine and simply to get out and enjoy the sights.
Desiderio noted that the city’s decorative lights and other improvements for both sides of Park Road have been well-received in the historic Fish Alley neighborhood, an enclave of family-owned restaurants and fishing boats rooted in Sea Isle’s early history as a small commercial seaport.
“What we did along Park Road got a lot of compliments,” he said.
The decorative lights planned for the downtown area will be similar to the black, Victorian-style streetlamps that illuminate the John F. Kennedy Boulevard entranceway as well as the blocks along Landis Avenue between 39th and 43rd streets.
New lighting will continue the city’s efforts to brighten up the Landis Avenue business corridor and other commercial hubs in town to make them more visually appealing.
Landis Avenue also includes magnolia trees that give the downtown area a splash of greenery. The streetscaping is complemented by decorative banners bearing the city’s slogan, “Sea Isle: A City For All Seasons!”
In other business at the Council meeting, Desiderio reported that the city is working with Cape May County on a plan to advance a number of flood-mitigation projects in different areas of town.
The city previously developed an island-wide, flood-control plan that identified areas that could take advantage of stormwater pumping stations.
Pumping stations intercept floodwater and channel it back into the bay much faster than it would normally take to drain off the streets after a coastal storm. They have proved effective in Ocean City, Avalon and other shore communities vulnerable to flooding.
Sea Isle built its first pumping station in 2019 in a flood-prone neighborhood at the bay end of 38th Street and Sounds Avenue.
It has two other pumping stations in the planning and design stage for the areas between 42nd and 47th streets from Landis Avenue to the bay, Desiderio said.
“The remaining areas throughout the city that could benefit from pump stations consist of systems that are under both city and county responsibility. With significant funding potentially available through various infrastructure programs at the state and federal level, we are going to make the best possible case to obtain our fair share,” he said.