By MADDY VITALE
The oceanfront Promenade is a popular spot for strollers, beachgoers and bicyclists.
Soon, it will be even brighter, too. Work to install new decorative lighting has begun. Officials say it will not only beautify the walkway, but also add a bit of Victorian-style charm.
“This improvement project will not only make Sea Isle City more attractive, it will also supply us with modern light fixtures that will be more energy efficient,” said Sea Isle City Public Information Officer Katherine Custer.
The project includes decorative lighting on the Promenade from 35th Street to 44th Street. City Council awarded an $843,300 contract to Delta Line Construction, of Egg Harbor Township, to install the lights.
The plan also includes the installation of a public address system on that section of the Promenade.
The project was deferred until the fall to avoid inconveniencing businesses, residents and visitors during the busy summer season. Work has begun on the footers for the light poles, Custer said.
And it is not just about making the Promenade look nicer.
“It will beautify the Promenade. Plus, there will be a public address system that will be installed which can be used to remind bicyclists when it’s time to exit the Promenade,” Custer said.
“The PA system can also be useful if there is a lost child or during other urgent situations,” she noted.
From May 15 to Sept. 15 – the peak summer tourism season – bikes are allowed on the Promenade during weekdays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on weekends from 5 a.m. to noon. There are no restrictions on bikers during the offseason.
To get a glimpse at what will be appearing on the Promenade, motorists and residents need only to look at the black, Victorian-style streetlamps that light up the John F. Kennedy Boulevard entranceway into town and parts of the downtown business district on Landis Avenue
The streetlight-looking lights currently in place on the Promenade are lackluster and antiquated.
The lighting fixtures, Custer believes, are about 40 years old at least.
“I was told that they are at least 40 years old, but they could be the original lights from the 1960s when the Promenade was built,” she said. “We are not 100 percent certain. They are old cobra-head lights that we don’t think are made any longer. The new lights will be much nicer.”