This week, we were informed by the New York office of the international rating agency Standard and Poor’s that Sea Isle City’s credit rating was upgraded from the single A to double A category. This is a tremendous achievement for the City, as it reflects our sound financial management policies and practices, and positions the City to receive extremely favorable interest rates when borrowing for capital investments. In light of what’s been happening across the country in recent years and considering that many municipalities in our state have recently received downgraded ratings, our new double A rating is all the more impressive. As the City has acted aggressively to accomplish capital infrastructure improvements over the past several years, we’ve also been working within a financial planning process to manage the costs of those improvements. The news from Standard and Poor’s of our upgraded credit rating is a significant measure of the City’s performance in managing your tax dollars.
In other news, based on a recent assessment of our town’s roadways, we will be adding new stop signs along Central Avenue at 59th and 63rd Streets (near Dealy Field). The stop signs will ensure traffic safety and also greatly assist pedestrians in that area. Look for the new stop signs to be in place prior to the summer season.
Everywhere you look in our town, there is a great deal of activity taking place. For example, earlier this week, the members of Saint Joseph’s Church were very pleased to see their much-anticipated stained glass windows being installed on the Landis Avenue side of the new church. Also, local businesses all over town are once again opening their doors and preparing for the 2012 summer season. And, speaking of our business community, keep in mind that the Sea Isle City Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization are hosting a “Girls Weekend” on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which means that there will be special offers and discounts at businesses throughout town. Be sure to read the “Did You Know” section to learn more about what’s happening in town in the weeks ahead.
Congratulations go out to the 7th and 8th grade girls of Sea Isle City’s 2012 championship basketball team. Teammates Carmela Desiderio, Clancey Larkin, Mack McCracken, Madison McGinn, Lauren Moretti, and Jacklyn Romano were able to clinch the South Shore Basketball League title, all the while reminding each of us what great kids we have in our town. Well done, ladies!
As you may have already heard, the New Jersey Top Ten Beaches Survey is currently underway. I encourage everyone to cast your vote for Sea Isle City by visiting www.njtoptenbeaches.org. Last year, we were declared New Jersey’s fourth top beach town, and I truly believe that 2012 is our year to be number one!
In closing, I also want to encourage all of our readers to ask their friends to sign up for this E-Newsletter. In recent months, our readership has continued to grow, and as of March 8th, 4289 people had signed up for Sea Isle’s E-news system. I am always happy to hear people tell me that they look forward to receiving our newsletters, and that they are appreciative of our E-Alerts. I was recently speaking with Debbie Rose Fusco, who said that she “absolutely loves” our e-News and that she looks forward to receiving the newsletter every two weeks. I promised Debbie that we will continue to work hard to share information about our town and let everyone know exactly what’s going on in Sea Isle City. After all, information is power, and it’s our goal to empower each of our property owners, residents, and visitors with important news and timely updates!
Smile…You’re in Sea Isle!
Mayor Leonard C. Desiderio
CITY COUNCIL MESSAGE:
During our last City Council meeting, we approved ordinance #1514, which regulates the sale of alcohol after 11:00 p.m. in outdoor facilities at licensed establishments. This ordinance has no impact on our current sidewalk dining ordinance; however it will allow establishments with outdoor facilities to stay open past 11:00 p.m. if they meet our definition of “enclosure.” Specifically, enclosed areas where alcohol is served after 11:00 p.m. must be surrounded a structure with a minimum height of 6-feet and be only accessible through the main facility.
During our next meeting on March 27 at 10:00 a.m., we will introduce a parking ordinance, which will increase our parking rates by changing meter time-limits in various parts of town. The same ordinance will allow for the addition of four-way stop signs along Central Avenue (at 59th and 63rd Streets, near the Dealy Field recreation area). We will also introduce ordinance #1519, which will regulate the Jitney services planned for Sea Isle City this summer.
Another ordinance to be introduced on March 27 (#1520) will allow licensed establishments to sell and serve alcohol starting at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays, versus the current time of 12 noon on Sundays.
Also during our next meeting, a resolution will be on the agenda to continue our cooperative efforts with Avalon and Stone Harbor to maintain and produce our Channel 2 television broadcasts. As has been the case in recent years, we will continue to share the cost of this broadcast service with Avalon and Stone Harbor in an effort to communicate with as many local properties as possible. Additionally, Jim Bennett, chairman of Sea Isle’s Tourism Commission, and Mike Monichetti, founder and organizer of the Polar Bear Autism 5K Run-Walk, will report on the results of this year’s Polar Bear Plunge/Autism Run-Walk Weekend.
Best Regards from the Members of City Council
Please Note: As we head toward the summer, the push is on to complete projects in advance of our busy tourist season. Our objective continues to be to maintain and improve Sea Isle’s public assets and infrastructure in order to provide our residents and visitors with the best quality of life and fulfill the City’s vision of Sea Isle as a premier destination resort, while maintaining a small town, community atmosphere.
North End and Downtown Beach Replenishment Program – The project included the placement of sand at several areas of the beach on the entire island, including portions of Strathmere and Sea Isle. Sea Isle’s project area was from 1st to 15th and 30th to 52nd Streets. Also included was the installation of sand dune fencing and dune grass for the length of the project. The project has been entirely completed, and on March 21st the City met with representatives of the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to review the project documentation required to formally close-out the project and enable the City to receive reimbursement from FEMA for 75% of the eligible costs. The beach-fill and dune reconstruction from 1st to 15th and 40th to 52nd Street was previously determined to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, based on the damages that had occurred in a November 2009 storm event, which was a federally declared disaster. The beach from 30th to 40th Street, while not eligible for FEMA funding, was 75% funded by the State of New Jersey, as the City was successful in its efforts to obtain available funds from the state’s dedicated shore protection funding source.
Please see photos below of Sea Isle’s replenished beaches (photos courtesy of Weeks Marine, the dredging contractor)…
Phase 2 of Excursion Park, Beach to Bay Corridor – This project involves streetscape improvements to the public corridor along JFK Boulevard from the Promenade to Landis Avenue, and widening of the sidewalks along each side of this corridor by 3 feet. The contractor, Fred M. Schiavone Construction, has completed placement of the surface pavement, and the roadway was opened up to traffic and parking on March 9th. The landscape planter walls, landscaping, sod, and sidewalk pavers have been substantially completed for the entire project. Remaining to be completed is the installation of the decorative street lighting and relocation or removal of old utility poles, with placement of the electric, cable, and phone utilities onto the new poles or underground (on the north side of the boulevard). Delivery of the decorative light poles is scheduled for April, at which time the project will be able to be completed.
Demolition of Existing Library/Beach Tag Facility and Conversion to Parking Lot – NO CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS UPDATE – Demolition of the old library facility will start in April. Construction of the parking lot will follow immediately afterwards. The completion of the parking lot will be prior to Skimmer Weekend (June 16 and 17).
Construction of Welcome Center Addition to the Community Lodge and Renovations of the Existing Lodge Facility and Site – The contractor, R. Wilkinson and Sons, is in the process of performing foundation work for the Welcome Center addition and the handicapped access ramps, along with interior renovation work to the Community Lodge. The City has relocated the Lodge activities to the old Library Building; the renovation work in the Lodge will be completed in order to allow re-entry into the Lodge at the end of March. The Welcome Center addition is scheduled for completion by mid-June. The project will provide for improved heating, ventilating and air conditioning in the existing lodge, improved restroom facilities that comply with handicapped accessibility requirements, improved access to the lodge that also complies with handicapped accessibility requirements, and a complete addition of a Welcome Center. The project is the culmination of several years of public discussion about the need for a Welcome Center, as well as the need for continued utilization of the current lodge facility.
Please see photos below, taken on March 22…
Improvements to T.I. Park – The contractor, Axios, Inc., is in the process of installing the new access ramp and decking material, which includes replacement of all the old ramp and pavilion decking with Timbertech (plastic material similar to that used at the Marina). Following ramp and deck installation, new aluminum railing will be installed, providing for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The contractor has also completed re-staining of the pavilion. Given the magnitude of the work and the fact that all accesses to the pavilion are under construction, the park will be closed to public access while construction takes place in order to ensure public safety. The project is expected to be completed by mid-April.
Please see photos below of T.I. Park, taken on March 22…
Lagoon Dredging – NO CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS UPDATE – On February 14, City Council authorized award of a contract to Wickberg Marine Contracting, of Belford, NJ, in the amount of $719,336. Letters have been issued to property owners adjacent to the lagoons, advising them of the particulars of the project and providing contact information for the contractor, in the event the property owners wish to participate in the project.
The current status of the project is as follows:
*The contractor has mobilized his equipment on site and has started construction of dike walls in the dredged material disposal area, located west of the library, adjacent to Rio Grande lagoon (Rio Grande is along 47th Place). Dike construction will take approximately 6 weeks.
*Dredging of Rio Grande Lagoon and a portion of Rio Del Isole (along Venicean Road) will take place from about mid-April through May.
*Dredging work will cease over the summer and re-commence after Labor Day, when the remainder of the lagoons will be dredged.
The lagoons to be dredged are as follows:
Rio Grande (south side of 47th Place)
Rio Delle Stelle (between 46th and 47th Place)
Rio Delle Luna (between 45th and 46th Place)
Rio Del Amore (between 44th Street and 45th Place)
Rio Delle Isole (along Venicean Road)
Rio Del Barche (between 43rd Place and 44th Street)
Rio Del Affare (between 42nd and 43rd Place)
Rio Delle Ponte (along Park Road on either side of 43rd Place)
This project provides for the ability of private property owners adjacent to the project area to enter into an agreement with the successful dredging contractor to dredge their private slips (at the private owner’s expense).
Sewer and Road Reconstruction on Central Avenue (49th to 69th Street) – The project has been contracted to the firm of Lewandowski Construction Industries, Inc., of Waterford, NJ. The project will be performed in two phases – the first being from 49th to 63rd Street (prior to the 2012 summer season) and the second phase from 63rd to 69th Street (following the 2012 summer season). The project will rehabilitate or replace the deteriorated underground sewer system, as well as provide for reconstruction of the entire one mile stretch of roadway. The contractor has mobilized on site and is currently working between 59th and 63rd Streets (traffic is currently detoured between 59th and 63rd on Central Avenue). Work will proceed through the spring then be halted for the summer. The current plan includes installation of the required manholes and sewer lines, along with reconstruction of the street surface from 63rd to 49th Street, prior to the summer season.
Please see photos below of Central Avenue, taken on March 22…
Utility Reconstruction on Landis Avenue (54th to 69th Street) – The project has been contracted to F.W.Shawl & Sons, of Marmora, NJ, and will provide for water and sewer line replacement in advance of the County project to resurface Landis Avenue from 54th to 69th Street. The contractor has performed test pit excavations to help establish the location of existing underground utilities; trenching work for installation of replacement utility lines will commence in the next week. The work will require the detour of traffic, which will be coordinated with the Central Avenue project to ensure that north-south traffic is maintained. The project is scheduled to be completed around mid-May. The County is scheduled to resurface Landis Avenue from 54th to 69th Street either in the fall of 2012 or spring of 2013.
Inflow and Infiltration (I & I) Remediation – NO CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS UPDATE – The firm of Video Pipe Services, Inc. of Newfield, NJ, is in the process of performing work associated with internal repairs of sewer pipelines and manholes throughout the City. The portion of the project involving the sealing of sanitary sewer mains has been substantially completed. Repair and lining of sewer laterals identified as needing corrective work is in progress, and that work is now scheduled to be completed in April, which will complete this phase of the I & I remediation. The need for this project was identified over the past several years through a comprehensive investigation and analysis of the City’s sewer system. Sewer systems are prone to both inflow (overland water entering the sewer system through manhole covers and other surface openings in the system) and infiltration (entry of groundwater into pipelines through cracks, deteriorated pipes and pipe joints). The effects of I & I are symptoms of deterioration of the sewer system that must be corrected to avoid more problematic maintenance issues and potential failure of the sewer system. I & I is also costly, in that the City must pay for the unnecessary treatment of water that enters the sanitary sewer system. This is the first phase of a multi-year citywide sewer maintenance and improvement project that will ensure the continued viability of the City’s vital sewer infrastructure. As indicated above, this project is expected to be completed by April. The next phase of I & I work will involve replacement of sewer lines that cannot be corrected through internal “no-dig” repairs, as are being performed in this phase. As those projects are engineered and prepared for bidding and construction, we will provide updates on the specific details of the projects.
Utility Reconstruction, Various Streets – Plans and specifications have been completed for a project to replace deteriorated underground utilities (water and sewer) in several streets, as part of the City’s comprehensive road and utility program. The project was advertised for bids on March 21st, and bids are due April 5th, with the intention of presenting a resolution to award a construction contract for the work at the April 10th Council meeting. The work is scheduled to be performed partially in the spring with a summer hiatus, then fall completion. Following utility work, the streets will receive new surface paving. The following streets are included in this project:
1. 50th Street, Landis Avenue to Promenade
2. 51st Street, Landis Avenue to Promenade
3. 60th Street, Landis Avenue to Central Avenue
4. 43rd Place street-end with guide rail barrier
5. 42nd Street, Landis Avenue to Promenade
6. 79th Street, Landis Avenue to Central Avenue
7. 60th Street, Landis Avenue to Beach End
JFK Boulevard Reconstruction, from Bridge to Landis Avenue – NO CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS UPDATE – The County has been working with the City for design of the project to reconstruct and reconfigure JFK Boulevard from the Sea Isle Bridge to Landis Avenue. The project limits also include reconstruction of Landis Avenue from JFK Boulevard to 40th Street. The project scope will include the addition of widened sidewalks, decorative lighting, streetscape improvements and landscaping, drainage improvements, and elevation of the road surface, which will assist during times of flooding. The County Engineer and the design engineering firm of Urban Engineers (which is under contract to the County), along with the City Engineer, made a presentation on the JFK Boulevard project on March 7, 2012, in council chambers, at which time those in attendance were informed of the project details and the proposed timing of the project. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 members of the public and the media, with the opportunity for questions and concerns to be raised. The engineers addressed issues relative to drainage, traffic, the proposed elevation of the road surface, changes to the road configuration, and the new streetscape. The project involves federal funding, and the next step is for the County to obtain authorization from federal and state agencies to proceed to bidding. If authorization is received, the County will put the project out to bid by July in order to award a contract for a fall 2012 construction start. In this event, construction will take place between October 2012 and May 2013.
Paving of 43rd Street from Landis Avenue to Park Road – The City received bids for construction of the project on March 14th. The apparent low bidder was Arawak Paving Co., Inc., of Hammonton, NJ, in the amount of $98,500. The work will involve final re-surfacing of the street. This paving project will finalize a complete reconstruction of this section of 43rd Street, which previously received new water and sewer lines. The paving work will be completed prior to the summer season.
City Hall Landscaping – The front and side lawns of City Hall are being given a facelift, with installation of sod and an irrigation system, along with a paver plaza area adjacent to the parking lot. The objective of the project is to continue to beautify public areas, as well as decrease future maintenance needs. The work is being completely performed by Public Works forces. The irrigation supplies and brick pavers being used for this project are surplus materials from previous City projects.
Please see photos below of City Hall’s exterior, taken on March 22…
Little League In-field – The City has contracted with Georgia Golf Construction, Inc., of Woodbine, NJ, to perform placement of sod at the Dealy Field Little League field, to convert the dirt infield to grass. Included in the project is an irrigation system for the infield.
Please see photo below of the baseball field, taken on March 22…
Turtle Sculptures – The City previously authorized the acquisition of two signature turtle sculptures – one for placement at the JFK and Pleasure Avenue on the corner of Excursion Park, and the other at the north end entrance of Sea Isle City. The sculpture at Excursion Park will be approximately six feet in length, and the north end sculpture will be about three feet in length. The sculptures are expected to be delivered to the City in April.
VOTE FOR SEA ISLE CITY:
The 2012 New Jersey Top Ten Beaches Survey is now underway – and Sea Isle City is one of the hottest towns on the list! Conducted by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and The Coastal Research Center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, 2012 is the 5th year for the annual survey, which rates 48 beach communities from Sandy Hook to Cape May. In 2010, Sea Isle City ranked 5th among the state’s beach towns, and in 2011 Sea Isle City was 4th! You can let the entire Garden State know that Sea Isle City is NUMBER ONE, by casting your vote online at www.njtoptenbeaches.org . Voting is fast, easy and free – and it will help everyone learn that Sea Isle City is wonderful shore community.
LIBRARY CARD INFORMATION:
The Sea Isle City branch of the Cape May County Library, located at 48th Street and Central Avenue, is open to the public. However, visitors must have an active library membership card to use the facility’s computers, rent a movie or borrow a book. To obtain a library card, local residents simply need to show proof of residency; and those who own homes in Sea Isle City and live elsewhere must show a local tax or utility bill or some other proof of home-ownership. Visitors (weekly or seasonal) can obtain a temporary card by showing a rental lease and providing proper identification that includes their home address.
The library is open 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (closed Sunday). For more information, phone 263-7301 or visit www.cmclibrary.org.