Sea Isle City Dredging Program Pushed Back To Fall
Posted on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
A dredging program to remove muddy sediment from some of Sea Isle City’s most popular waterways will be delayed until fall because bids for the project came in over budget.
City Council voted Tuesday to reject the first set of bids and will seek new ones for the project over the summer. The lowest bid came in slightly above $1 million, significantly higher than the city’s $922,475 pre-bid estimate, a Council resolution said.
The city had hoped to begin the dredging work this spring and have the work completed in time for the bustling summer tourism season, when the local waterways come alive with boat traffic.
However, City Council President J.B. Feeley said the project will be pushed back until the fall because of the rejection of bids and need to solicit new ones.
“We’re going to miss the summer boating season, unfortunately. Naturally, we’re disappointed with that, but we have to follow the rules,” Feeley said.
Dredging will clear out shallow waterways that are clogged with sediment. They include popular lagoons along Venicean Road serving the Yacht Club of Sea Isle City and the bayfront area at 38th Street.
“They are really low there because of the buildup of sediment. A lot of times, they’re on mud,” Feeley said of the boats.
According to a City Council resolution, plans call for Sea Isle to wait for approval of its dredging permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before seeking new bids for the project.
Feeley said the permitting process will require rigorous environmental restrictions for the city to follow, particularly in the area of the 38th Street bayfront.
The city also plans to work with homeowners on Venicean Road and 38th Street and Sounds Avenue to get their private boat slips dredged.
The homeowners would pay for dredging their boat slips, but would be able to save money by piggybacking on the city’s dredging permits. The process would relieve homeowners of some of the costs and headaches of doing the dredging work on their own, including finding a disposal site for the sediment, City Business Administrator George Savastano explained in an earlier interview.
Sea Isle is also planning to dredge the lagoon along the Municipal Marina on 42nd Place. By deepening the lagoon, the city will continue with improvements that have been made to the marina in recent years, including new landscaping, docks, a boardwalk, an open-air pavilion and public restrooms.
In other business Tuesday, Council hired an architect to develop a preliminary conceptual design for a proposed community recreation center that will cost an estimated $10 million to $15 million.
The $29,000 contract with Henry Hengchua Architect of Toms River, N.J., will also include a “vision and strategy assessment” to serve as the framework for planning and managing the project.
Sea Isle is planning to demolish the old public school at 4501 Park Road to make way for the recreation facility. The school, which closed in 2012 due to Sea Isle’s declining student population, occupies the entire block bordered by Park Road, Central Avenue, 45th Street and 46th Street.
Sea Isle officials have pledged that the public will be closely involved with the city in the design and planning of the recreation center.
Barring any major delays or problems, construction is expected to get underway in the second half of 2021 and would take about 18 months to complete, putting the grand opening in early 2023, Savastano said in January.