CITY OF WILDWOOD ENGAGES COMMUNITY ON PACIFIC AVENUE REDEVELOPMENT
On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey and Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron hosted the fourth stakeholder meeting seeking community input on the Pacific Avenue Redevelopment Project.
Michael Sullivan, ASLA, AICP from the planning firm Clarke Caton Hintz presented a preliminary analysis of Pacific Avenue to kick off the discussion with the community. The goal of the meeting was to hear from Wildwood residents, second-homeowners, and business owners about their wants and needs for the future of Pacific Avenue.
Nassau Capital Advisor, Robert Powell shared a Market Analysis and touched on the possibilities the redevelopment might yield including residential growth and increased customers for the Pacific Avenue business community. Both Sullivan and Powell stressed the importance of the meeting as a necessary step before preliminary planning ensues next month.
According to Mayor Byron, “This is an opportunity to revitalize a beloved but neglected part of our community with only 20% cost to the City and 80% cost to the County. We have long endeavored to attract residents and retailers to Pacific Avenue but simply could not proceed at 100% cost to our taxpayers. We are grateful for the partnership with ACIA and the County to move this project forward.”
Clarke Caton Hintz and Nassau Capital Advisors preliminarily suggested the opportunity to develop a variety of housing previously hindered by zoning ordinances and high tax rates. The City, through this partnership with the County, is eager to work with planners, developers, and local builders to maximize opportunities on Pacific Avenue.
Various participants expressed thoughts and questions concerning issues such as eminent domain, the balance of residential development as compared to the business footprint, incentives to sustain current businesses in future planning, and the importance of retaining Wildwood’s working-class charm as well as its Doo Wop culture. Morey, Byron, Sullivan and others reiterated that the planning concepts presented for discussion are not final and that the meeting was an important part of an information-gathering stage which will inform the preparation of a preliminary concept to be shared within the next several weeks.
John Donio, owner of Wildwood’s Daytona Inn and Suites and President of the Downtown Wildwood Business Improvement District, chairs the Wildwood Redevelopment Advisory Committee. He shared his views on the importance of community outreach, “As a resident for the last 15 years and a business owner for the last 20, I am especially encouraged by the level of community involvement by the property owners and residents. As we said from the very beginning, transparency, and open communication will be critical in making the transformation of Downtown Wildwood a truly community-wide experience”
The meeting recording and the Clarke Caton Hintz presentation can be viewed at https://clarkecatonhintz.sharefile.com/d-s935ee7df24542cc8