WILDWOOD - Streetscape improvements for Pacific Avenue are in the works for 2012 as the city's Downtown Business Improvement District continues to upgrade the physical appearance of the main shopping street.

The project involves upgrading sidewalks, lighting and other features south of Rio Grande Avenue to Cresse Avenue as the improvement district looks to complete Pacific Avenue's facelift. Its estimated cost is $400,000.

Patrick Rosenello, executive director of the district, said the project is one of several planned for the new year. Also scheduled are the replacement of decorative Christmas season lighting with new summer-inspired beach ball and palm tree decorations that will line the street as the next tourist season arrives.

"We continue to make visual improvements to the street," Rosenello said Monday.

Rosenello said the work is being paid for with a federal grant through the Department of Transportation. The improvement district applied for the grant on the city's behalf and it was awarded to the city for the project. Rosenello said it is part of the federal stimulus package.

In 2011, the district had a budget of about $350,000, at least $125,000 of which is devoted to infrastructure and other fixes to brighten the street, such as new lighting and decorations.

The rest of the budget goes toward everything from the free Dolly the Trolley service, which hauls shoppers and other visitors around the downtown, to advertising and marketing.

The upgrades are designed to draw visitors and new businesses to downtown.

This fall, the district launched a trolley tour aimed at attracting merchants. Another tour, directed at existing shore businesses looking to expand to new locations, is planned for the spring.

Those projects follow a number of initiatives that were completed or started this year, such as landscaping and new pavers along Rio Grade Avenue - the cost of which was split with the city - and the installation of new banners that read "Eat. Drink. Shop." The banners, which will be updated seasonally, were paid for by the district and installed by city employees.

Holiday lighting, also paid for by the district and installed by the city, also went up this year.

"A major part of the Wildwood BID's current revitalization efforts involves working with the city of Wildwood to accomplish mutually beneficial goals for the good of downtown Wildwood," business owner and district President Wally Lerro said in a news release.

Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. likewise said the city and the business district work together closely and will continue to do so in 2012.

Rosenello said the district hopes to work with the city in the coming year to improve the lights that line Ocean Avenue. They were installed several years ago, and many are "in bad shape," he said.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:

609-463-6716

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