Over 100 Margate residents converged on Ross School this past Saturday morning, July 13. Attendees wanted to know how their long lost Margate boardwalk could be rebuilt.
The Margate Boardwalk Committee, lead by Glenn Klotz, presented facts, figures and expert opinion that answered some key questions: How would a new boardwalk be built? What are the costs? What are the pros and cons of re-building the 8,500-foot-long structure?
The Margate Boardwalk Committee: Glenn Klotz, Stefanie Bloch, Ellen Lichtenstein and Steve Davidson.
Margate Commissioner Maury Blumberg was there. So was Atlantic County Exec, Denny Levinson. Former EHT Mayor, NJ Senator Sonny McCullough was also in attendance.
County Exec Levinson told Klotz: ‘the Margate boardwalk idea is a no-brainer’.
Margate Boardwalk Report Summary:
Why rebuild the Margate Boardwalk that was destroyed by a 1944 storm?
Answer: Help fix various problems brought about by the 2017 dune, beach and sewer pipe project. The ACOE, Army Corp of Engineers tried to fix one problem, but caused several others.
What have we lost? Views, Access and Connections. Residents of Margate have lost the view of the sea and we can no longer feel the ocean breeze from our streets and homes.
Access to the beach has become extremely difficult, if not impossible, for large segments of our population:
- The elderly, who cannot scale the dunes to get to the water
- Those with disabilities, no railings to help get over the dunes
- Young families, loaded with gear, get stuck moving wheeled carts over dunes
- Boaters, who used to bring their catamarans from the bulkheads to the water
14 ft high dunes not only blocked scenic views, but made life miserable for those with walking challenges. Easy beach access was substantially diminished.
Boardwalk Committee: Our beautiful beach has been broken, degraded. The degraded condition of Margate’s beach will soon harm our precious reputation as a 1st class family-style resort town.
In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, a dune system was forced upon us by the State of New Jersey and the Army Corp of Engineers. The result is a radically altered landscape and a degraded experience of our previously magnificent beach.
Once flat, wide and easy to access, our beach is now home to a huge wall of sand placed directly in its middle, horizontally dividing the ocean from the rest of Margate. This has created a very large “Dead Zone” between the bulkhead entrances to the beach and the dunes, as long as a city block in many areas.
The beach is now divided by 5, sewer pipe / outfalls.
A rebuilt Margate boardwalk would feature much easier access. 40 access ramps would transport beach-goers from the street ends to the boardwalk. The 27 ft wide boardwalk would be safety nestled behind and above the controversial, man-made dune.
Features of a New, Rebuilt Margate Boardwalk.
- Dedicated bike lane
- Efficient LED lighting
- Up to four pavilions with benches
- Outdoor showers, foot showers
- Bathroom facilities
- Water fountains.
The proposed wooden walkway would span from Fredericksburg ave in Ventnor, all the way to the border of Longport.
Estimated costs of a rebuilt, Margate boardwalk range from $14 to $24 million, depending on type of boardwalk desired.
Black Locust wood would be used to rebuild the Margate boardwalk. Black Locust has “high natural durability, is heavy and hard. Sustainable forestry. These hardy trees grow fast.
Side Note: Downbeach Flood insurance didn’t go down as promised. Instead, coastal home owners are expecting higher flood insurance rates: See: http://www.StopFEMAnow.com/
Margate Boardwalk. More Safety, Less Crime.
Some worry that a boardwalk will increase crime. Actually, the exact opposite is true. Research was shared by Stockton University professor and criminologist Marissa Levy showing that a boardwalk could actually boost public safety.
FACT: The crime rates, currently, in Margate and Ventnor are similarly low. Ventnor (with a boardwalk) does not have significantly more crime than Margate.
- The proposed boardwalk could increase informal surveillance. Residents biking, walking, jogging, or sitting could provide increased levels of surveillance which could deter residential burglaries. In fact, the boardwalk could serve as a protective factor against residential burglaries for those houses directly on the beach and on the blocks between Atlantic Avenue and the boardwalk.
- First responders, including Emergency Medical Services, may have faster and less obstructed access to residents or visitors utilizing the beach.
- Assuming Margate police would utilize the boardwalk as Ventnor police do, the proposed boardwalk could increase formal surveillance. Police could patrol the boardwalk, assist residents and visitors, and respond faster to calls for service.
- Increased pedestrian/runner/biker safety – residents may be more likely to walk, run, or bike on the boardwalk and less likely to impede traffic on Atlantic Avenue or on other streets in Margate.
Social Media Comment: Disturbing homeowner privacy is a weak and despicable objection. The beach and sidewalks are open to the general public. Why do some, selfish homeowners feel the beach is their private front yard?
Beachgoers want parking, wheelchair ramps, public restrooms, easy access to the water, and place to gather and enjoy the views. Do some Jersey shore towns scare away visitors by reducing parking, blocking views, and not providing public restrooms?
UPDATE: NJ DEP Department of Environmental Protection looking at enforcing beach access regulations. DEP wants towns like Margate to have public restrooms, access and better parking. Gasp. Beach block parking in Margate?
Margate Boardwalk Full Report:The-MBC-Report-Final-for-Print-1
Learn more at TheMargateBoardwalk.com