NORTH WILDWOOD ─ "Historic" beach erosion pummels city beaches creating a threatening situation for residences and property. Both officials and residents take pride in the beaches for aesthetic and economic reasons as the summer of 2018 glimmers on the horizon.
Concerns about the environmental aspects of the shoreline have prompted the city to take action.
According to a recently received letter, the state Department of Environmental Protection (Coastal Engineering) has awarded North Wildwood $6.7 million for its seawall extension.
Administrative assistant Ron Simone, who will fill the seat of city administrator in 2019, said the grant is a reflection of the "good relationship" between North Wildwood and the DEP. Requests for a grant were made in 2017.
Beginning at Second Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard, the existing seawall will be extended to Fifth Avenue, and possibly to Sixth, according to Mayor Patrick Rosenello.
Previous work at the Third and Fourth avenue beaches was washed away in the wake of Hurricane José in 2017.
Though José never reached the Jersey shore, its surge beat against the barrier islands. According to eyewitnesses and video, storm surge pounded the seawall at Third and Kennedy, pouring over the top of the wall.
When tides receded, Rosenello gave interviews with several news agencies.
"Arguably, one of the most important functions of local government is to protect public and private infrastructure," Rosenello told the Herald in 2017.
According to Rosenello, the estimated value of buildings in North Wildwood is $2.5 billion; adding sewer, water, and utility lines, it is $3 billion.
On Feb. 9, the Herald contacted Rosenello for comment on the newly awarded grant. He also reflected on the "good relationship" between the city and DEP.
The $6.7 million composes 75 percent of the needed funds for the seawall project, leaving the city with only 25 percent.
Both Simone and Rosenello are encouraged that the DEP understands the "seriousness" of the erosion.
When asked how the remaining 25 percent would be raised, Rosenello replied it would come from the capital fund.
Construction is expected to begin in 2018. "That is my goal," Rosenello added.
Reconstructing the city's dunes also encompass part of the project.
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