Wildwood to take its case to Open Space Board for Pacific Avenue lot

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WILDWOOD—Next Tuesday, Wildwood officials will make their case before the county open space board to bring some sort of recreation area to Pacific Avenue.

What that space ultimately will look like is still being hashed out. Previously, the Board of Commissioners had hoped to see a synthetic ice rink included in plans for 3400 Pacific Ave.

Now, businesses in Wildwood’s downtown have thrown their support behind the project, and suggested changes to what the space should include.

“We can all agree that we like that spot on Pacific Avenue to be developed as something recreational for local citizens and tourists alike,” John Donio, president of the Downtown Business Improvement District in Wildwood said Tuesday. “What that specifically will be is still a gray area.”

Business owners and the city have decided that the area should include space for an amphitheater, and should host Wildwood events, like festivals and concerts.

The plan also calls for some sort of recreational area, which Donio said is still up for interpretation.

“It may not be an ice rink,” Donio said. “We want open space, a plaza-type atmosphere with an amphitheater where people could gather for events.”

Donio is the owner of the Daytona Motel on Atlantic Avenue, and he said bringing a park to the downtown would hopefully help drive business. He described that are of the downtown as a “smile missing its tooth” because of the vacant lot at 3400 Pacific.

“We need to have something there to help accentuate that area,” he said.

These new plans come after a committee of business owners met with Commissioner Pete Byron at City Hall earlier this month to discuss the project.

“The meeting was very favorable,” Byron said in an interview earlier this month. “We’re hoping we can come up with an agreement where everyone is happy.”

While the application to the Open Space board is still being made by the city, Donio said that the BID is supportive, and some members will be at the meeting Jan. 28.

“We are definitely in favor of securing this open space money to help the city develop that property,” Donio said.

City officials have said that creating recreational space on Pacific Avenue will draw more tourists to the area, and create a need for more parking, which was why the sale of the center city lot and progress on the Pacific Avenue property were tied together earlier this fall.

Byron has said that the city wants to put the $800,000 the BID paid for the downtown lot toward improvements on the Pacific Avenue recreation site. Wildwood will have to pay to make improvements to the property if it is purchased by the Open Space board.

The county open space meeting is 10 a.m. Jan. 28 in the Intermediate Meeting Room of the County Administration Building in Cape May Court House.

Email Christie Rotondo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or comment on this story at thewildwoodleader.com

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