By Donald Wittkowski
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.
That really is a giant piece of plastic draped over the monument in Sea Isle City’s Veterans Park at the corner of John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Landis Avenue.
The landmark is undergoing a refurbishing that includes a thorough cleaning and a new coat of paint to protect it from the shore’s salt air and storms. A new water pump is also being added for the monument’s fountain.
The $13,500 project is expected to be finished in about a week, ensuring that the monument will glisten when it serves as the centerpiece of the city’s annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 27.
“It is not only appropriate, but necessary, because we have to honor our veterans,” city spokeswoman Katherine Custer said of the monument’s importance for Memorial Day and other military-inspired special events.
The monument, which is made of gunite, a term for sprayed concrete, is being cleaned with high-pressure hoses in a process similar to sand-blasting.
“It’s like sand-blasting, but we’re using crushed glass instead. It’s biodegradable,” explained A.J. Andre, owner of Rio-Grande-based Andre Properties, the company that is doing the cleaning work.
Painting work performed by another contractor will follow the cleaning, Andre said.
In 2010, Sea Isle enhanced the monument’s grandeur by attaching a colonnade to the structure and beautifying its fountain.
Veterans Park was also given a makeover in 2010 with the addition of new flagpoles, landscaping, decorative lighting and a stone wall that doubles as seating for spectators during memorial events. Altogether, the park and monument’s facelift cost $600,000, Custer said.
Improvements to the monument and Veterans Park were part of Sea Isle’s “Beach to Bay Project,” a sweeping overhaul of the main corridor into town to provide a more inviting entryway and new amenities for residents and visitors.