By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Sea Isle City may not be ready to challenge Paris for the title of City of Light, but it is certainly brightening things up.
Perhaps Sea Isle could be called the City of Lights. That’s plural.
Creating a more attractive look, the city has completed a nearly $1 million project that added decorative lights in some of the most popular commercial areas of town.
“I know that the idea was to improve our commercial districts by adding more beauty and charm there,” city spokeswoman Katherine Custer said in an interview Monday.
The decorative lights are similar to the black, Victorian-style street lamps that illuminate Sea Isle’s John F. Kennedy Boulevard entranceway and some of the blocks along Landis Avenue in the heart of downtown.
The commercial areas that were brightened up under the $997,350 contract with Ronald Janney Electrical Contractor Inc. of Estell Manor, N.J., include:
- Both sides of Park Road from JFK Boulevard to 44th Street, which includes the Fish Alley neighborhood, an enclave of family-owned restaurants and fishing boats rooted in Sea Isle’s early history as a small commercial seaport.
- Both sides of Landis Avenue between 49th and 51st streets along the city’s downtown corridor.
- The west side of Landis Avenue between 59th and 65th streets.
- Both sides of 63rd Street from Landis to Central Avenue.
Sea Isle hopes the decorative lighting will make the commercial districts a more inviting place for residents and visitors to shop, dine and simply to get out and enjoy the sights.
“I’ve heard from some people and they think the new lights are attractive and have enhanced the atmosphere,” Custer said of the public’s reaction.
Giving the lights an extra decorative element are banners attached to the poles. Some of the banners include the slogan, “Sea Isle, a city for all seasons!”
Separately, Sea Isle installed new decorative lights along the oceanfront Promenade between 35th and 44th streets as part of an $843,000 project earlier this year.
The decorative lights are dramatically different than the stark streetlight-style fixtures that had loomed over the Promenade since its construction in the 1960s. The new lights feature sleek black poles and a hooded top piece somewhat reminiscent of Victorian-era lamps. The old lights have been removed.
Custer said the decorative lighting adds a fun and whimsical touch to the busiest part of the Promenade, a hub for summer tourists.
“The Promenade lighting, without a doubt, is much more attractive,” she said. “It has changed the environment up there greatly.”
Decorative banners and speakers for a new public address system are attached to the Promenade’s light poles.
Custer explained that the PA system will be used for routine announcements, such as reminding bikers of the hours they are allowed on the Promenade during the summer. It will also come in handy if there are any emergencies, such as an announcement about a missing child.
The new lights between 35th and 44th streets represent the first phase of a more extensive relighting of the Promenade that will eventually stretch the entire length of the walkway from 29th to 57th streets, according to plans.