Wildwood seeks $64.5 million in state funds to reconstruct aging boardwalk

A crowded boardwalk in Wildwood

A crowded boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. (Bill Barlow for WHYY)

City officials have approved asking the state of New Jersey for $64.5 million in funding to reconstruct the Wildwood Boardwalk.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that the plan includes rebuilding the nearly 100-year-old boardwalk in three phases with a concrete understructure and hardwood decking. It also lists upgrading infrastructure including fiber optics, sewer and water piping.

The boardwalk is a continuous stretch from North Wildwood, through Wildwood, and to the beginning of Wildwood Crest.

The plan argues that revenue from state tourism taxes largely comes from the Boardwalk. Mayor Ernie Troiano says he hopes the funding is approved because “there is no way I can tax the people.”

In 2016, Troiano called for a $20 million boardwalk upgrade that included replacing the concrete substructure. At the time, he said that “curling” planks are hazardous.

“The boards will pop right up and you end up with a real mess on your hands, people tripping and falling … people are trying to sue us all the time,” he said.

State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak, whose district includes Wildwood, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

If approved, construction on the project could begin in the fall.

The city says it will continue to search for funding from other sources.

In 2014, Family Vacation Critic, a subsidiary of popular travel site TripAdvisor, ranked Wildwood’s Boardwalk as number 1 in its “12 Best Beach Boardwalks” list, citing its family-friendly environment, amusement piers, and waterparks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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