The Wildwoods, NJ – July 22, 2020 –The Wildwoods Grand Gateway is an all-new visitor experience designed to launch everyone into vacation mode from the moment they arrive in the Wildwoods.
“The Wildwoods Gateway project is one I am truly proud to have been a part of. I want to commend Freeholder Will Morey and our County Engineer Bob Church for the amazing project in coordination with many great federal, state, and local partners. This is a true collaboration and the results are amazing,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton.
The Greater Wildwoods Tourism and Improvement Authority (GWTIDA) funded $350,000 of the project to ensure the Grand Gateway would have the visual “wow” factor for which the destination has become known. These signature features distinguish the corridor and leave a lasting impression on visitors, including a Doo Wop-themed welcome sign and new digital sign, an artistic mural on a new pump station wall, and dozens of large Wildwoods signature cement beach balls strategically scattered along the corridor.
“If visitors ever had any doubt that they are welcomed and valued, this Gateway sends the message loud and clear. The new Grand Gateway signifies your arrival into our exciting destination in a unique way that truly epitomizes the Wildwoods,” explained John Siciliano, Executive Director/CFO of the GWTIDA.
Stretching from 1,300 feet west of Susquehanna Avenue (near the existing eastern abutment joint of the George Redding Bridge) to Artic Avenue in the City of Wildwood, the “wows” begin right as visitors make their way along Rio Grande Avenue onto the island. Vacationers are welcomed by a “Welcome to the Wildwoods” Doo Wop-style sign in the shape of a surfboard. With its vivid colors and lighting, it can be seen upon approach day or night, setting the tone for the great fun that lies ahead.
A large digital billboard follows, announcing all the great events happening in the Wildwoods; and a beautiful ocean wave mural on the large curving wall of the all-new strom water pumping station signifies that excitement of the world-famous Wildwoods Boardwalk and beach are moments away. Streetscaping artwork of beach balls at the intersections of Susquehanna Avenue and Park Boulevard reinforce the seashore theme.
Upon their departure, visitors receive a fun, throw-back farewell message from the 1950s, displayed in two parts on the reverse sides of the digital billboard and surf board-shaped Doo-Wop sign. The digital billboard facing outgoing traffic bids “See Ya Later Alligator,” followed by the surfboard sign’s message, “After A While Crocodile.”
A beautiful, newly paved, and widened street increases traffic flow, allowing visitors to stylishly cruise to their destinations. Attractive street lighting, concrete beach ball bollards scattered throughout the pristine new landscape and a new park make for a fun and scenic ride. Pedestrians and cyclists alike can safely enjoy the corridor with newly constructed bike lanes from the George Redding Bridge to Susquehanna Avenue on both sides of the street; and decorative ADA-compliant sidewalks consisting of stamped, colored concrete that resembles boardwalk planking.
“We are always striving to find new and exciting ways to attract families to the Wildwoods, including becoming deeply involved in the beautification of the island with new road ways, fixtures and streetscapes that are fun, functional, and distinctly the Wildwoods,” said Jack Morey, Chairman of GWTIDA’s Strategic Planning Committee, which is responsible for the design of the welcome sign, digital billboard, ocean wave mural and the dozens of concrete beach balls placed throughout the streetscape. “The path forward is fresh, clean, family-themed, kitschy, not too serious, and quite a different experience than any other beach town on the Jersey Shore, and beyond,” he added.
The new Grand Gateway is more than an aesthetic improvement, however. The $13.7 million Cape May County-led project was designed to ease travel challenges by improving traffic flow and mitigating flooding, thanks to raised streets, a new traffic pattern with wider streets and additional turning lanes, and a new storm water pumping station.
“Great collaborations set the foundation for great projects,” said Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey. “This fantastic Wildwoods Grand Gateway is a classic and inspiring example of government entities working together productively with vision; the result is a project where ‘the whole has become much greater than the sum of its parts’.”
For more information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.