WILDWOOD ─ The iconic "boards" of Wildwood are slated for total reconstruction, according to city commissioners.
Business in Wildwood revolves around the Boardwalk, an attraction, and landmark since the early 1900s, providing entertainment for summer guests and income for the city.
Due to time and weather events, the boardwalk stands in need of rebuilding.
Mayor Ernie Troiano recognizes the project is no small feat and told the Herald he is seeking funding. City leaders have begun looking for a grant to shoulder the finances.
"Free is good," Troiano said with a smile Jan. 10.
According to Commissioner Peter Byron, head of revenue and finance, the city is "looking at other opportunities" for funding as well. Byron said an estimated total is still being calculated.
During a phone interview Jan. 12, Byron said the city had discussed the matter with North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello. Though the majority of the Boardwalk is in Wildwood, the North Wildwood section also needs repair, according to Byron.
Rosenello concurred that the North Wildwood portion "needs reconstruction." However, Rosenello said plans for reconstruction are not in the city's capital plans for 2018.
A "block-by-block" approach will most likely be taken by City officials, spacing the project across several years due to the cost factor.
The wood selected for the project is a Brazilian hardwood, legally harvested from farms and not the rain forest.
In past commissioners' meetings, Troiano has assured residents that the wood is not illegally taken from the forest.
Troiano said he had already received criticism from the environmental community. However, synthetic materials cannot endure the summer heat and other factors, according to the mayor.
City engineer Edward Dennis said a "preliminary engineering evaluation" had been carried out.
The Boardwalk is Wildwood's "oceanfront value" and prime real estate, as described by Byron in previous statements. The city is gathering a "think tank" of individuals and organizations (i.e., Greater Wildwood Tourism Improvement and Development Authority) to ensure the safety and continuance of the Boardwalk.
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