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Sea Isle introduces plan to spruce up entry corridor

Sea Isle introduces plan to spruce up entry corridor

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SEA ISLE CITY - A new downtown marina building. An expanded veterans memorial park. A study of solar energy.

City Council introduced a $3.6 million spending plan this week, borrowing money to fund an ambitious and expensive beach-to-bay corridor plan near John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

The bond ordinance includes about $1.2 million for a marina building at the city's waterfront near the Sea Isle City Bridge, lighting and landscaping work there, as well as about $700,000 for a possible expansion of a veterans memorial park and restrooms.

Money also is set aside for a solar energy study and the purchase of vehicles for police, emergency management and public works.

The ordinance faces a public hearing Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. in the Public Safety Building.

"People say when you enter your town, if you can come up with a 'wow' sentiment, you've done a major task," City Council President William Kehner said. "We're looking at that, with what can be done with our corridor."

Kehner said the city is not yet committed to spending all the money set aside in the bond ordinance. A proposal to expand an existing veterans memorial along John F. Kennedy Boulevard may rely on federal or state funding, he said.

"In this down economy, some are thinking if we don't get grants for some of the work, we'll keep what we have and do what we can with what we have," he said. "We're in that phase, putting the money forward so that it could be utilized. If it will be still needs to be fully determined."

The beach-to-bay corridor project is ongoing and also will explore an area just west of the beachfront Promenade, Councilman John Divney said.

The look of John F. Kennedy Boulevard, which is Sea Isle City's main entrance from the Garden State Parkway, changed significantly in the past year.

In August 2008, City Council approved $3 million to build a Boardwalk-type walkway and a new bulkhead near its marina along 42nd Place.

In June, amusement park Gillian's Funland of Sea Isle City opened, following an agreement with the city to lease the public lot in exchange for 10 percent of the park's revenues and having the draw of an amusement park to attract families in the tourist season.

Also at a City Council meeting Tuesday, the council awarded a $1.2 million contract to Fabbri Builders for a new lifeguard headquarters and more restroom facilities on 44th Street and the beach.

The contract will build a two story, approximately 4,000-square-foot facility to replace the existing, as well as add meeting room space, City Administrator George Savastano said.

Savastano said work will begin late in September and the building will be constructed before Memorial Day.

The reconstruction of new lifeguard headquarters in that area drew some criticism at a Feb. 10 meeting from some homeowners on 44th and 45 Streets that the proposed building was too large and costly. Over the past decade, the city successfully fought lawsuits that opposed construction there.

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