City of Wildwood, NJ – February 26, 2021 – Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron today announced that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy contacted him confirming that the FY’22 state budget will include $4 million for boardwalk repairs.
“I cannot overemphasize the city’s appreciation to the Governor in following through with his commitment to help make critical repairs to the Wildwood boardwalk,” said Byron.
Murphy first met with Byron in April 2020 following a windstorm that uplifted sections of the boardwalk, causing nearly $400,000 in damage. The Governor acknowledged at the time that the boardwalk was a key asset to the city and a uniquely important attraction to the Jersey shore. Subsequent to his April visit, Murphy and Byron have had on-going discussions on boardwalk funding, culminating at a virtual meeting earlier this month that signaled the Governor’s support.
“Although the Governor could not give a formal commitment to funding prior to the state budget being adopted, he clearly expressed his desire to help Wildwood. I was confident that he would push budget numbers to find some money for the city, but I wasn’t anticipating a full $4 million to get our rehabilitation program off to a great start,” said Byron.
The city engineers recently concluded a report updating the boardwalk’s deficiencies in addition to outlining a five-year program to rehabilitate the aging structure. The program prioritizes the repairs to 15 of the most deteriorated and heavily used blocks on the boardwalk, including most of its business district. The blocks from 26th street to Oak Avenue and Lincoln Avenue to Montgomery Avenue are estimated to cost an annual $3.9 million for the five-year period. Byron said, “The $4 million in state funds will jumpstart our rehab program by paying for 2 to 3 blocks in most urgent need of repairs.”
Besides the critical blocks being repaired, the city is pursuing multiple avenues of potential grant opportunities as well as committing its own resources to fund the additional $13.4 million to repair the remaining sections of the boardwalk in less need of immediate attention.
Byron noted that previous reports of rehabilitating the boardwalk called for a complete replacement of the structure at an estimated cost of $70 million.
“In light of this excessive amount, the city believes its rehabilitation program is the most practical and affordable approach to sufficiently upgrade the boardwalk and keep it operational for visitors, businesses and safety vehicles for years to come,” said Byron.
“Beyond the city’s capital investment in the boardwalk, it is committed to conducting an annual engineer’s review to ensure its structural integrity and has stepped up its in-house staff and budget appropriations to adequately meet its ongoing maintenance demands,” concluded Byron.