Skate rink eyed as downtown project

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WILDWOOD-As part as the continual effort to revitalize Wildwood’s Pacific Avenue, City Commissioners have been working to secure property on the historic street to build an ice rink.

The project is the brainchild of Commissioner Pete Byron, who urged press not to print information about the ice rink until the property was purchased. However, the purchase was listed as an ordinance to be discussed for second hearing and possible adoption on the rough draft agenda for the commissioners’ meeting yesterday.

When the final draft of the agenda was issued, the ordinance was changed to authorize the purchase of real property, but excluded the words “skating rink.”

This item was tabled by Byron until further notice at the meeting, but he had mentioned in a phone interview prior to the meeting that he would be ready “to go public” with the plans in about a month.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” he said.

Byron said he was working to apply for grants to offset the cost of purchasing the property, like County Open Space funds, and sought written support from local organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District, and Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority in going after the grant.

GWTIDA decided to write a letter of support for a Pacific Avenue recreation project, but did not include the words “ice rink” in the motion at the authority’s meeting June 21.

“I think the letter of support shouldn’t be for the project itself, but looked at in the context of the ‘2015 plan,’” said GWTIDA board member Jack Morey.

Morey explained that the 2015 plan, outlining where the authority would like the city to be by 2015, including Pacific Avenue revitalization, includes expanding parking. The Kenny Chesney concert June 20 made it obvious that the authority would have to add parking if the island was going to continue to host and promote large events, Morey said.

“An event just happened that made it pretty clear that if we are going to grow, we also need to grow the infrastructure with parking,” Morey said of the concert.

Morey encouraged fellow board members to write the letter of support for “open recreational space” in the downtown because of the plan to expand parking.

“I think when you put a piece of open space next to something that could be somewhere upwards of hundreds of parking spaces, there’s a good synergy there,” Morey said.

Officials with the Business Improvement District said last month that Pacific Avenue is making headway. There were 86 occupied properties and a 74 percent occupancy rate, which is up 5 percent from last year.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at

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