By Donald Wittkowski
Dozens of scraggly, leafless trees lining the main entranceway into Sea Isle City aren’t much to look at these days.
Winter’s arrival has stripped them of their green canopy, but some have simply died off and need to be replaced.
City Council approved a $98,000 beautification project Tuesday that will see a total 72 new maple and myrtle trees planted along the John F. Kennedy Boulevard entryway as well as a stretch of Landis Avenue in the downtown business district.
“It should be really pretty when it’s completed,” said Katherine Custer, the city’s public information officer.
The trees are expected to be in the ground by spring. Custer said 40 trident maples are planned for the JFK Boulevard corridor, while the downtown blocks of Landis Avenue between 39th and 43rd streets will be adorned with 32 crepe myrtles.
Custer noted that the trees are salt-tolerant and conducive for the seashore environment. Come spring and summer, they will blossom with ornate flowery branches, she said.
The old trees that died were leftovers from the multimillion-dollar “Beach to Bay” beautification of JFK Boulevard, which was completed in 2013. A series of road, landscaping, safety and municipal projects were added to the central corridor stretching from the city’s marina to the beachfront Promenade over a five-year span.
In addition to planting dozens of new trees, Sea Isle officials plan to continue making other parts of the city more eye-catching by installing decorative lighting similar to the Victorian-style lamp posts that illuminate JFK Boulevard.
Last July, City Council approved a $4.4 million bond ordinance to finance an array of capital improvements throughout town, including $1.6 million for new lighting along the Promenade, the Landis Avenue business artery and other commercial areas.
On the Promenade, new lighting is planned between 35th and 44th streets. The city has been brightening up the walkway with new lights to make the tourist haven both safer and more attractive.