WILDWOOD CREST — The borough awarded Walters Marine Construction a $673,773 contract on Oct. 24 to give the 90-year-old Wildwood Crest fishing pier a facelift.
You still won’t be able to catch anything off the pier, except maybe a surprised tourist, but Commissioner Don Cabrera hopes that residents and visitor will be able to enjoy a stroll or maybe listen to live music on the pier, located at the end of Heather Road, in the future.
But for now, work will focus on the oldest part of the pier, the portion located closest to the street end.
Construction is expected to begin before the Thanksgiving holiday and includes making the pier
handicapped accessible, replacing parts of the wooden structure, installation of aluminum railings and linking the pier to the nearby bike path.
The rehabilitation project is funded by a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Community Affairs and approximately $350,000 in bonds. Cabrera had estimated the net cost to the borough would be around $227,000.
Rehabilitation of the structure caused a stir among the borough’s residents, with some calling the pier an eyesore that should be torn down and others considering it an important part of history.
Demolishing the pier could cost between $150,00 to $300,000.
Commissioner Joyce Gould, who voted against the project, urged her fellow commissioners to consider the wasteful cost of rehabilitating a fishing pier that no longer sits over the ocean. She said that cost of maintaining the pier would not be covered in the price of construction.
The pier had returned to municipal control after being rented and run by a private fishing club for decades.
The club, founded in 1917, had at one time over 100 members but couldn’t compete with the borough’s growing beach.
Contact Suit at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org