Boardwalk Committee Meeting – March 13, 2019

ACPD It was announced that there will be a deployment of as many as 26 Class 2 (or SLEO —  Special Law Enforcement) Officers by mid April, bringing the number up to 68. There is also funding for 15 new full-time Police Officers. The Tourism District funds 45 officers at a cost of $1.5 Million and has allotted another $1.5 Million for an additional 15 full-time officers.

Any remaining funds will allow for additional Class 2 hires. The additional officers will be assigned in teams to each voting ward (not district) throughout the City, and will help citizens navigate City bureaucracy as well as providing assistance throughout the Tourism District. They will be involved in the community, assisting with social services, the homeless, and where needed. They will be deployed in day and evening shifts, and the teams will remain assigned to the same districts. In addition, they are working with the Pacific Square and Orange Loop districts. They will introduce themselves to their districts via social media and town meetings, will have city-issued cell phones, and distribute their business cards.

There was a discussion of rooming houses throughout the City; the evaluation of Licensing for operate these houses is currently being reviewed by the City. AC has approximately three times as many boarding houses/rooms as is considered “ideal” by New Jersey state statutes. Those statutes indicate we should have about 200 rooms; the City currently has over 800. Sgt. Tracy indicated a rooming house at Albion and Pacific Aves. is being demolished today. In response to a question, he indicated that the City has final say in renewing rooming house licenses. In other words, the City can deny a specific license even if the State has approved it.

Installation of security bollards (barrier posts) in and around the entrance ramps to the Boardwalk. only authorized vehicles and those with permits will be permitted to access the Boardwalk. Weight restrictions will be more strictly enforced. Paul Jerkins announced that 28 bollards are ready to be installed, which includes 20 stationary ones. A $150,000 grant has been approved for more moveable bollards.

The City is waiting for final guidelines from the State on the Smoking Ban on NJ Beaches and Parks. The hope is that the laws will finally go into effect sometime this summer.

Public Works Funding has been approved for the purchase of wood for the repair and renovation of the Boardwalk. Paul Jerkins indicated that bids are ready to go out for the procurement of the wood, and that there are plans to replace the existing yellow pine boards with EPAI wood, which is more durable than the traditional yellow pine. Work will begin on installing the new wood in September, with Public Works crews scheduled to perform the work. There is currently $200,000 available for Boardwalk repairs and renovations, with some of the work already completed. In addition, CRDA has approved another $500,000 for additional repairs. Existing wood that is in good shape or that has recently been installed as temporary repairs will be removed, stored, then replaced when the work is completed. The boards will be numbered to ensure the surface remains smooth and consistent. Additionally, some parts of the Boardwalk will have to be rebuilt from the sand up, including the repair and upgrading of utilities that run underneath the boards. While both the City and tourists in general want wood on the Boardwalk, the understructure should and can be made of materials other than wood.

Tom asked about street paving, but those engineering responsibilities have been transferred to the Planning Office, so Paul was unable to comment on any progress there.

The North End or newly constructed Boardwalk has not yet been lit. The project is under the auspices of the Engineering Office. Paul will check on the progress and report back to Tom.

In response to a question about the weight of the trash trucks on the Boardwalk, Paul reported that the smaller trucks are used on the Boardwalk as opposed to the full-size trucks used on the streets, and that Public Works is doing their best to address the situation. He opined that an access road between the dunes and Boardwalk would be the best way to collect trash with as little disruption to Boardwalk foot traffic, but that option is costly. Some collection processes are manpower issues where the trash must be picked up and carried to the access ramps by hand. He also indicated that trash is collected from the Boardwalk once per day in the winter (early morning) and a minimum of four times daily in the summer. With the amount of people on the Boardwalk in the summer, trash MUST be collected often.

ACFD/Emergency Management (Scott Evans): Scott added to the discussion that security bollards are an unfortunate necessity in today’s times. He reported that Emergency Station 4 is undergoing repairs and renovations. The building is over 100 years old and repairs are costly. The department is hoping for budget allotments for new vehicle purchases as the equipment is aging, with the youngest fire truck at 9 years old. Repairs are done when necessary to keep all trucks on the streets.

Another major concern is fires that erupt in abandoned buildings. There are over 400 abandoned buildings in the City. This is a dangerous situation as – even though the buildings are supposedly abandoned — the firefighters must still go inside to ensure no one is inside since these buildings are often occupied by the homeless.

Addressing concerns about flooding in Lower Chelsea, it is hoped that the existing bulkheads can be repaired or re-worked to alleviate flooding. The construction and/or upgrading of water delivery systems is expensive, and the Pumping Station and its system are over 100 years old. The canals are leaking in spots, trash and debris clogs the grates and inlets as well as the pumps themselves.

Scott also reported that there will be Drone Races held on Fathers Day Weekend, with a possible concert under consideration.

Supermarket in AC: Walt West, Director of Sustainable Food Solutions, announced that a feasibility study is well underway to bring a supermarket to the City. The hope is that ground will be broken by the Fall, or the end of the year at the latest. The proposed site is Baltic and Ohio Avenues.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10, at 9:30 a.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Hill