ATLANTIC CITY — Motorists coming into the city from Ventnor along West End Avenue will now get a warmer welcome thanks to the efforts of two local women who want to help beautify their hometown.

A 9-foot tall, high-density urethane sign featuring a three-dimensional Absecon Lighthouse and the words “Atlantic City Welcomes You” has replaced the metal signs that previously noted when drivers were entering or exiting the city. Chelsea residents Cindy Owen and Anne Marie Wilkins shared a hug Saturday during the sign’s unveiling.

“We wanted to make it a warm welcome,” Owen said.

This was the third sign the women have had installed from Ventnor into Atlantic City — the first two on Atlantic and Ventnor avenues — using only donations made by area residents and businesses.

Owen and Wilkins brainstormed the idea to create new welcome signs last year before contacting their local councilman, Jesse O. Kurtz, to help them get the ball rolling.

“There’s little things that would come to light: the trash on the streets, the metal signs that were not inviting,” Wilkins said.

The West End Avenue sign features plaques for sponsors Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House, Lighthouse Properties, Bay Atlantic Symphony, Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City, Arthur Ponzio and Associates, and the Whelan family.

Joining the women for the unveiling Saturday were Kurtz and Mayor Frank Gilliam, along with representatives from many of the sign sponsors.

“This is not political stuff, this is genuine community people supporting the town they live in,” Gilliam said of the effort.

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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