Green Acres scope meeting for Ventnor West set for Oct. 18

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A sign at the Ventnor Library and Cultural Arts Center gives notice to residents of the Thursday, Oct. 18 meeting.
VENTNOR – Citizens will get a chance to preview the plan for Ventnor West at a City Hall meeting Thursday, Oct. 18.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Mayor Mike Bagnell said it will begin after the 5:30 p.m. commission meeting in Commission Chambers.

Described as a development pre-application scope meeting, it will include public comment on the project. Bagnell said written comments can be directed to City Clerk Janice Callaghan.

The meeting begins the process that will ultimately result in the release of more than $2.14 million in grant and loan funding held by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres program for the reconstruction Ventnor Municipal Fishing Pier. Green Acres assists municipalities, counties and nonprofit organizations in developing parks and outdoor recreation facilities in their communities.

The sign posted at the Ventnor branch of the Atlantic County Library System on Atlantic Avenue was the first step, Bagnell said.

“Then we send the pre-application and the transcript or recording of the scoping meeting for approval,” Bagnell said Thursday, Sept. 20. “The door was just unlocked, it’s not open yet.”

Bagnell said that the city’s assistant solicitor Amy Weintrob has been in contact with the state agency.

“We’ve had some good rapport with Kevin Appelget and the Green Acres people. They understand we’re as anxious as they are to move forward,” said Bagnell.

Theresa Kelly, the commissioner of public works and recreation, has been a part of the project since she was first elected in 2008.

“I am so happy we are going to have the scope meeting,” Kelly said Friday, Sept. 21. “The verbal agreement we had with Green Acres was if we have the scope meeting, they would send us half of the money used to use for the fishing pier.”

 In an email response, Lawrence Hajna, press officer for Green Acres, said when the pre-application is complete, a portion of the funding will be released to the city; but that exact amount has yet to be determined.

Hajna explained that Ventnor is required to submit for a diversion application because, “It constructed a library on Green Acres and Land and Water Conservation Fund encumbered parkland that was restricted for outdoor recreation use only.”

That land restricted for outdoor recreation was the location of the Ventnor Skating Rink, which was demolished when the library building was constructed.

He said the lot at the rink portion which is being diverted comprised of .3 acres on a total 2.93-acre parcel.

The city is considering compensating for the diversion by deed restricting approximately 13 acres of the Ventnor West parcel, according to Hajna.

He said the city will receive the funding when the diversion application is approved. The $2.14 million is comprised of $1,333,225 in loan money and $806,775 in grant money.

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