AVALON — A $2 million county open space grant has put the borough well on the way to revamping a local park, although residents won’t see ground broken until sometime after Labor Day.
“Avalon considers the planned Surfside Park property to be the most valuable real estate in the borough,” Business Administrator Scott Wahl said. “It’s still used for parking for the beachgoers and restaurants. It would not make sense to disrupt the area for the summer.”
The Cape May County Board of Freeholders approved the grant in November for the creation of a new Surfside Park to be located adjacent to the Avalon Boardwalk at 30th Street and the beach. It would replace a playground and skateboard park adjacent to the Boardwalk.
The skateboard park has seen limited use in recent years as well as a significant deterioration of the ramps and equipment, Wahl said. The playground equipment is likewise at the end of its life cycle and needs to be replaced, he said.
Wahl said Borough Council members will discuss engineering and design of the park at their Jan. 10 meeting.
“If council members find the professional service contracts favorable, they would be approved at the Jan. 24 meeting,” Wahl said.
Bids for the multimillion-dollar project likely would go out in the spring to early summer, Wahl said. “But we wouldn’t break ground until after Labor Day.”
Wahl said borough officials expect the park to open prior to Memorial Day 2019.
Plans for the new Surfside Park include an open lawn area with a small elevated berm facing a small stage for performances, movies and other activities.
Also included are new bathroom facilities, rinsing stations and a changing station for day-trippers. New playground equipment would be installed that is both ADA-accessible and age-appropriate.
Surfside Park also would feature a new gazebo for picnics and bicycle racks to accommodate cyclists.
A separate county open space grant for $70,000 will be used to expand the borough’s bike path on Dune Drive outside of the business district, Wahl said. The expansion will target the north end of the island, taking cyclists from 32nd Street toward the Townsend Inlet bridge.
“We will safely route riders away from the downtown area on Dune Drive,” Wahl said.
The expansion of the path will use existing roadway on portions of First Avenue and Avalon Avenue, with more signs and street markings to enhance safety, he said.