Monday, December 19, 2022

Wildwood receives a $678,015 Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grant for coastal resiliency projects


WILDWOOD, NJ - Wildwood is one of seven recipients of a coastal resiliency grant to build upon a FEMA-funded pump station to fix flooding issues which was completed in 2020. 

These grant funds will allow the city to add three elements, including: a living shoreline along Mediterranean Avenue and West Andrews Avenue; the replacement and supplementation of failing bulkheads with vinyl bulkheads at several points along Otten's Harbor; and the replacement of a crushed drainage pipe in the vicinity of the project.

These projects are expected to be completed on or before May 2025.

Originally, 17 requests were filed for The Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust. The final grant totaling $3.9 million was awarded to only seven municipalities in Cape May, Atlantic and Ocean counties. These towns include Little Egg Harbor, Longport, Margate, Ventnor, Avalon, North Wildwood and Wildwood, with Wildwood receiving the second highest amount. All grantees were awarded the fund to combat tidal flooding and erosion issues that negatively impact residents’ public health and safety. 

“We would like to thank the Trustees and the Trust’s nine-person volunteer Advisory Board for awarding Wildwood these funds that are imperative to continuing our campaign promise of fixing major infrastructure issues,” said Mayor Pete Byron.

“Without grants like these, our citizens bear the unfair financial burden of increased taxes to pay for Mother Nature’s mistakes,” said Commissioner Krista Fitzsimons.

 “Mitigating the effects of tidal flooding, severe weather events and coastal erosion is vital in maintaining quality of life, public safety and public health for our coastal communities. The initial response that we received from municipalities was a clear indicator of just how desperately these funds are needed,” said Beverly McCall, Esquire, chair of the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust.  

“By allocating additional funds to this coastal resiliency round, the Trust is pleased to be able to provide support to ensure that these seven municipalities see their resiliency and mitigation projects to completion– a critical step in increasing our state’s climate resiliency.” 

“As Commissioner of Public Safety, I am always concerned about residents’ safety when even mild storm events that barely impact offshore communities flood and devastate our residents. Grants like these are crucial to fixing these longstanding problems,” said Commissioner Steve Mikulski. 

The total cost of these three Wildwood projects is $2,788,860. With FEMA money for these projects, totaling $2,091,645. The Orsted grant in the amount of $697,215 funds the required 25% city match for the FEMA award. Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, Commissioner Krista Fitzsimons and Commissioner Steve Mikulski worked very closely with LLC Rutula Associates on securing funding for most of the city’s infrastructure projects in order to offset the burden on taxpayers for these critical projects that cannot be ignored. 

About the Wildwood City Living Shoreline: 

Mayor Byron, Commissioner Fitzsimons and Commissioner Mikulski passed ordinance No. 1227-22 on February 23, 2022 entitled: ESTABLISHING UNIFORM REGULATIONS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR OF BULKHEADS. The purpose is to “establish regulations for the construction, reconstruction, or repair of existing or new bulkheads and to require the elevation of all bulkheads within the City of Wildwood to further the policy of the City to mitigate storm and tidal flooding…”

Two of the pertinent sections of this ordinance are:

11-4.8.Bulkhead Height

11-4.10. Existing non-conforming bulkhead compliance

This project is part of a multi-year infrastructure plan to improve flood mitigation measures. It seeks to: reduce flooding from tidal and storm events; promote living shorelines and wave break structures; maintain access to property susceptible to flooding; and improve resiliency to compliment future projects that reduce flooding from tidal and storm events.

About The Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust: 

The Trust is a $15 million fund established by Ocean Wind 1 following its selection by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2019 as New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm. In addition to providing funding for coastal resiliency projects, the Trust offers small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses support in reconfiguring or adapting their businesses to participate in the developing offshore wind industry, with the goal of ensuring that the offshore wind industry in New Jersey is developed in a sustainable and inclusive way.

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