Seaside Park boardwalk developer: We’ll strike a deal, rebuild

A plan to rebuild the Seaside Park boardwalk with a single 65-foot wide span is one step closer to realization today.

DJ D’Onofrio, the project manager for FunTown Pier Association, told NewsWorks this afternoon that a crucial boardwalk tenant agreed to the new design.

This still leaves two tenants who earlier expressed some reluctance to D’Onofrio’s plan. But as of Wednesday, D’Onofrio says the Funtown Pier Association group feels very confident they will strike a deal with all three critical leaseholders. He also says things are not as contentious as has been reported by the media saying no lawyers had to be brought in.

Old boardwalk vs. New boardwalk

DJ D’Onofrio says all three tenants shared a unique location on the Seaside Park section of the boardwalk. They were placed in the middle of the boardwalk with foot traffic on two sides.

“The boardwalk is like a highway,” said D’Onofrio, “To hinder that flow of people seems silly to me.”

“They’re getting the same frontage as before, they’ll just be on the edge of the highway instead of the middle,” explains D’Onofrio, who chalks up their initial hesitance to plain-old aversion to change. He remains optimistic about the benefits of his plan. “I truly believe it creates more value for these property owners by allowing people to freely flow between the two towns.”

The old boardwalk configuration split the boardwalk at the Carousel Arcade in Seaside Heights into two 20-foot-wide walkways with vendors on each side and remained two-pronged until the end of the FunTown Amusement Pier in Seaside Park.

What’s next?

If an agreement is reached with all of the tenants, the next step for D’Onofrio is to present his plan for a single 65-foot wide path to the Seaside Park Land Use Board on April 22. He says he’s confidant that his plan will get approved.

So far only minor boardwalk repairs have been made since last September’s fire devastated four blocks of boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, and the rebuilding process has been delayed by the complicated process of reaching consensus among the many property owners along the boardwalk in both towns.

But there is one benchmark all parties seem to be striving for: Memorial Day weekend.

Amidst will-it-or-won’t-it Memorial Day speculations, Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers told the Asbury Park Press, “We want, at the very least, to have a boardwalk back up [by Memorial Day weekend] so the two towns can be connected like they always were.”

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Special thanks to Shore Aerial Photography for providing some of the photos

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