Viewpoint: Why Margate Should NOT Build A Boardwalk

Dan Gottlieb of Margate, provides the following reasons why Margate should NOT build a new boardwalk:

#1. This is, first and foremost, an economic issue. The $20 million estimate to build the boardwalk would almost certainly fall on the backs of Margate taxpayers.

Furthermore, the $20 million estimate is wildly optimistic and doesn’t even include, lighting, engineering fees and crossovers. Not to mention the ongoing costs of repair and maintenance, electricity, security, liability insurance, trash removal and more.

The total project cost could easily be double the early projection of $20 million.

#2. There is no funding mechanism in place to pay for this other than Margate taxpayers and there is no evidence to support the notion that the state of NJ would fund it.

#3. Even in the highly unlikely event that the state was to allocate funds for such a project, why would Margate residents want it?

Margate’s character and quality of life is fundamentally different than other shore towns with boardwalks, such as Atlantic City, Ocean City and Wildwood. And Ventnor, our next door neighbor, has both higher taxes and lower property values than Margate…in part due to their boardwalk.

Margate also has a lower crime rate than towns with boardwalks, including Ventnor.

We still don’t know the impact of the dune project on property values and taxes, and it would be foolish to undertake a major new project of this magnitude until that becomes clearer.

Margate has had to bear the brunt of an enormously disruptive beach project for the past two years…and that work is still not entirely completed. Why would we want to further disrupt our beach experience, which is such a major part of Margate’s appeal and allure to both residents and visitors?

#4. If Margate was to find a way to fund a major infrastructure project, then it must address the city’s most pressing need… flooding from the back bay. That has been the city’s major problem for decades.

We’ve already “fixed” (and we use that term loosely) something that wasn’t broken with the dune project. Unfortunately, that was out of our control…forced upon us by a vindictive Governor, the Army Corps and the DEP. This is very much in our control.

Let’s leave well enough alone and, next time around, let’s address the real problem that adversely affects all Margate homeowners, directly or indirectly…namely raising the back bay bulkheads and other protective mechanisms to mitigate against flooding from future storms.

Dan Gottlieb, Margate.

24 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Why Margate Should NOT Build A Boardwalk”

  1. Not quite agreeing with Dan.
    The cost of $20,000,000 even $25,000,000
    With interest over25 years is only $142.00 per year in increased taxes. Cheap for a b walk that can solve many beach access problems and would be a great added socisl and exercise place for all. Add in the cost of policing and maintainance and maybe another $200 per year.
    In my humble opinion well worth the cost.

  2. When will the collapses sewer system and back bay flooding be addressed? This has to be a more pressing need. In last weekend’s brief storm Winchester Avenue and nearby blocks on the East side of town was flooded for hours. From a typical Summer storm. The next hurricane will lead to more flooding. Yet new streets were installed after the upgraded gas lines were installed with no response to the sewer system issues and the abandoned pumps to the bay. When will we focus on real needs rather than nice wants?

  3. Agree wholeheartedly with your points Dan. While those advocating for the boardwalk say it would make accessing the beach easier for the disabled, children and families, they fail to properly mention all the near miss accidents happening daily on the Ventnor Boardwalk today with families and kids in tow attempting to cross the boardwalk with boogie boards and chairs trying to get to the beach dodging cyclists speeding along their way. I don’t think that we need to create these issues for the residents of Margate.

  4. Excellent points. We do not need and can not afford a boardwalk. We have done without a boardwalk for decades and managed to survive. In addition, the initial “estimates” are just that, estimates and could be significantly undervalued. We have other pressing problems in Margate such as flooding. The drainage problems which affect many parts of Margate on a regular basis are much more important and need to be addressed before any luxuries such as a boardwalk are undertaken.

  5. Agree completely!! This is going to be a monumental mistake and we’lll pay for it dearly both in safety and legally.
    People suing over a rusty nail, falling off bikes, etc.

    1. Come on with the fear mongering!!!

      There’s an entire city of public property and we’re not swarmed with personal injury lawsuits right now. Why would a boardwalk be any different than the miles of sidewalk we have now. Or public playgrounds. Or Pickleball and Basketball courts. Or……..

      The lawsuit argument is ridiculous and obvious pushed to manipulate people.

  6. Totally agree that focus needs to be on mitigating risk not accelerating risk and costs with the entitlement of a recreational boardwalk. Have we forgotten all the images of destruction, debris and years of repairs for ALL of the boardwalks including just a short distance away in AC?

    History will view this as foolhardy…to cut down hundreds of tree, run miles of commercial lighting and place an environmental liability directly in the path of a highly sensitive natural environment that sits right in the bullseye of hurricanes. Here are some quotes from towns that had boardwalks…do we really want to join these ranks? “As soon as we saw it, we knew we had a herculean task in front of us.” said Howard Woodly, the city’s business administrator. “It marks the end of a long journey to completely replace and rebuild the decades-old esplanade, which runs from Beach 9th to beach 126th, four and a half years after the 2102 storm. ” ” Hurricane Sandy destroyed miles of boardwalk, with the wooden planks ripping apart and crashing into homes.” ” The entire 5.5 mile length of boardwalk did not reopen until this past summer, almost five years after Sandy.” Director of Climate Policy …reflecting on the process of building the new boardwalk stated” It’s definitely the biggest thing we have finished. it was a $340 million project, so it was no small feat.”

  7. This critique ignores a lot, like any gained revenue from increased tourism. It’s flawed and obviously biased. We need real conversations, not manipulative opinions.

    > namely raising the back bay bulkheads and other protective mechanisms to mitigate against flooding from future storms.

    This is a red herring. Raising the bulkhead does nothing if the sewers are connected to the bay. The water will come up through the sewers. There are no destructive waves on the bayside. It’s a waste of time and resources.

    1. Lets also be clear about the arguments against the boardwalk. They are almost entirely from beachfront home owners that believe they’re entitled to unobstructed beach access. They are not entitled to that.

      Every tax payer in Margate already pays taxes for beach maintenance. We all own it and we all decide what will be done with it. If we get more use out of it, with a boardwalk, that’s even better. The extra $200 in taxes per year isn’t breaking anyone’s budget.

  8. I agree with Dan. We don’t need a boardwalk. Back bay flooding needs to be addressed immediately. Fulton Ave at the JCC floods after every storm. The mulch surface from the small playground washes into to the street and clogs the storm drains. The city replaces the mulch after each storm. You would think the city would change the playground surface to something more stable like they have at the schools. No boardwalk please!

    1. This is a dupe. A bulkhead will not stop bayside flooding. The sewers are connected directly to the bay. If we build a bulkhead, the water will flow up through the drainage sewers and still flood our homes. It’s simple fluid mechanics.

      I’m guessing the ones push for new bulkheads are the people that own bayfront homes. I mean, who doesn’t want free, tax dollar paid, renovations for their house.

  9. More crime. More congestion. Higher taxes. (When have you ever found tax estimates to be in line with projections?). Cost overruns. I don’t live on the beach nor the bay, so I guess it’s not just those two groups against the project. And yes raising the bulkheads will help reduce flood waters overwhelming the current inadequate bulkheads, but storm drain remediation is needed as well. Put the money there to improve quality of life on the island for all. Not as sexy as the beach boardwalk or the Bayfront boardwalk but more imperative.

    1. > More crime. More congestion.

      There’s no reason to believe that either of these would change when there is a pedestrian sidewalk 100ft way on Atlantic Ave.

  10. > And yes raising the bulkheads will help reduce flood waters overwhelming the current inadequate bulkheads, but storm drain remediation is needed as well. Put the money there to improve quality of life on the island for all. Not as sexy as the beach boardwalk or the Bayfront boardwalk but more imperative.

    Nope! That’s now how Newtonian fluids work. Ever hear the phrase “water finds it’s own level”? That’s it! The water will come up through the storm drains unless they’re disconnected from the bay. Disconnecting them from the bay is a Herculean task. We’d need something man-made for the water to drain to. You’re talking a total rework of the storm drainage system.

    And no, pumps don’t work when there’s literal tons of positive pressure on the outtake.

    1. Just wondering what expertise in stormwater management you are basing your statements above on? There are resources in Margate with fantastic expertise such as follows: P.E., P.P., C.M.E., C.F.M., C.P.W.M, Q.P.A.
      It would be helpful to access this expertise since all of our tax dollars pay for this and we can get better transparency about all of the facts on Margates water management plans, priorities and possibilities.
      Facts and civil discourse instead of making this an us again them of beach vs Bay vs others in middle, may serve the community best in the long run regardless of the final decision.

      1. If you want transparency go to Home Depot and look at the windows..
        The three amigos can’t spell transparency let alone provide to the Margate taxpayers.

  11. Fully agree! There’s way too much fear mongering and hyperbole going on here.

    I’m an engineer and sometimes work with CFD (computational fluid dynamics) codes. But no, I’m not an expert in pump systems.

    You can see the problem all over Margate when exceptionally high tides and NO rain hits. The water backs up through the drainage system. That’s what causes flooding on the corners. Flood gates can stop the water coming in from the bay, but you need to pump the rain water out to a higher location to remove it inside the barrier. Just like the Netherlands or New Orleans.

    The drainage outflow pipes, which can be seen off Amherst walkway, are below the high tide mark. Those pipes would need to be raised significantly to higher ground for somewhere for the water to go. Otherwise you would need a tremendously strong pump to push against the entire bay above the pipes. That’s an insane amount of force.

  12. Mac, I don’t have an engineering degree (son in school studying) but have experienced floods on a professional level and solution was storm drain backflow check valves. I’m not an expert but wonder if that wouldn’t be at least a temporary fix for the frequent tidal flooding that occurs from drain backup. Appreciate your feedback. Bottom line is a lot of money needs to be spent to remediate this problem alone. Understand this is off point related to the thread.

    1. Right, the flood gates can close during a flood, which stops water from crossing the barrier. But, it stops water from crossing the barrier both ways — in and out.

      We’d still have flooding from the ocean and rain water to get rid of (unless we build a sea wall too, which could double as walkway). Some cities dig spill ways (similar to Los Angles River). That would work too, if we chose that route.

      The problem is the pumps would have to pump over the barriers (bulkhead) to higher group (or ocean). Currently they do not do that. The outflow pipes are below the bulkhead (can be seen off Amherst and Madison for example).

      1. These are all great comments.
        We live on an island and we have a flooding problem.
        Money should be spent to help relieve this problem.
        Our three smart commissioners want to spend a few million dollars to build a 700 ‘ boArdwalk in Amherst ave to benefit the future Aqua Park and a few privately held marinas.
        Are you kidding me!
        Stand up Margate . Grow a set of balls . Take a few hours of your precious time and come to the next commissioners and voice your concerns.
        Stop waiting for others to do it for you.

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