NORTHFIELD — There is a new look along Shore Road, welcoming drivers to Northfield, “Gateway to the Shore.”
For decades Shore Road was lined with American flags that flapped in the breeze from Northfield to Linwood and were an impressive sight for drivers. But those flags were banned from utility poles five years ago by Atlantic City Electric and other electric utilities throughout New Jersey due to concerns that the flags could catch on the lines and potentially become a hazard, according to Northfield Mayor Erland Chau.
Linwood installed American flag banners along their stretch of Shore Road two years ago that complied with the utility’s standards.
Chau wanted to do the same along Shore Road in Northfield and find a banner that would replace the flags the city had enjoyed for years as well.
“I wanted to do my homework and find a banner that would not only be nice looking and add to the aesthetics as you drive through Northfield, but I wanted one that was going to last and not need replaced every year or two,” Chau said. “I am a history buff. I thought it would be a wonderful idea to not only display the American flag but to include the 'Welcome to Northfield' message; our city slogan 'Gateway to the Shore' and our incorporation date of 1905.”
That led to the brand new deep blue decorative banners that stretch down Shore Road letting drivers know they are in Northfield.
The mayor said he is really proud of the new banners. They are still being installed, and when this first batch is complete, they will grace the utility poles along Shore Road from Oakcrest to Jackson avenues. There are 30 along Shore Road, and Chau said he hopes to add to those banners with the help of residents and area businesses.
The cost of the banners is $175 a piece, according to Deputy City Clerk Shannon Campbell. To date, six Northfield merchants have stepped up to donate to the city’s banner fund: McDonald’s of Northfield, Kensington Square LLC, Ocean First Bank and Carluccio’s Pizza.
Chau said one of the problems for the banners he has seen is sun and wind really take their toll on them. After a good bit of research, Chau said, he found banners that he said will last and be crisp looking for summers to come. The banners, purchased from Rileighs Outdoor Decor are 24 inches by 60 inches and made of heat- and sun-resistant vinyl. Chau said they also have a vent that allows the wind to pass through. He said the manufacturer told him they are suitable for year-round use, but to prolong the life of the banners, they will be taken down and stored in the winter.