Wildwood, August 31, 2020: The City of Wildwood and the County of Cape May continue their partnership to spur the redevelopment of Pacific Avenue, a once-thriving corridor in the heart of Wildwood. The first engagement under the County’s “Municipal Redevelopment Initiative,” the City and the County are working together to develop a plan to guide the redevelopment and will use a variety of tools and incentives available under the NJ Municipal Redevelopment Law, which include potential tax abatements and more flexible zoning. The goals are to re-imagine and revitalize Pacific Avenue and its adjacent areas by creating viable opportunities to attract new investment, including from local commercial and residential builders and small businesses.
The City and the County are being supported in this effort by the South Jersey Economic Development District and the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, which has hired the architecture and planning firm of Clarke Caton Hintz LLC to create a phased concept plan that will guide the efforts.
Good community communication and input are key focuses of this effort and, as such, a Redevelopment Advisory Committee – consisting of business, government, and community leaders – has been established. In early Fall, 2020, the Committee and planning team will host a series of four collaborative information sessions with Pacific Avenue and City stakeholders to seek input as the concept plan is developed. County Freeholder Will Morey, who oversees the economic development efforts of the County, expressed his enthusiasm for working with the City and the community as the action plan is assembled. “The partnership between the City of Wildwood and the County of Cape May has led us to explore new territory in economic development,” said Freeholder Will Morey, “Together, we can imagine the potential for Pacific Avenue to become a vibrant corridor of homes for families and thriving businesses. And together, we have the resources and the determination to make the vision become a reality.”
As work continues on the preliminary plan, excitement about the prospects of a thriving Pacific Avenue continues to grow. John Donio, President of the Downtown Wildwood Business Improvement District and Chair of the Redevelopment Advisory Committee, shared his reasons for optimism. “As a resident for the last 15 years and a business owner for the last 20, I can say that this partnership between the City of Wildwood and Cape May County could be a game changer. We have already seen significant improvements to Pacific Avenue through previous work with the County, especially with the recent addition of Byrne Plaza.”
The professional team of Clark Caton Hintz LLC has significant experience in engaging stakeholders in the planning process. Having worked in a number of communities including Asbury Park, which had challenges similar in many ways to the City of Wildwood, the professional team is adept at capturing public input and translating those thoughts into their planning elements. “Together, we have assembled a great team who is ready to work hard on behalf of the City of Wildwood and its residents. I encourage our local residents, business owners, and other interested folks to become a part of the initiative by attending an upcoming Community meeting and letting your voices be heard” said Mayor Pete Byron.
“We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership will bring to the City of Wildwood and the people who live, work, and play there,” said Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio. “Hats off to the City and to the County for taking the chance to engage in this unique program, to understand the great potential of Pacific Avenue, and to commit to each other to make it happen.”
--- Launched as a pilot program of the County’s “Municipal Redevelopment Initiative”, the Pacific Avenue Redevelopment Initiative is an innovative approach to the revitalization of Pacific Avenue in the City of Wildwood. Started in late 2019, the City of Wildwood and Cape May County have partnered with many local organizations to begin a planning process that will bring new and exciting development tools to the famous avenue. The goal of the Initiative is to plan for a new and reimagined Pacific Avenue that supports existing residents and businesses, attracts the interest of new homeowners and businesses, and spurs new investment from the business community including local builders and other small businesses. Frequently asked questions about the Redevelopment Initiative are available: https://www.dooww.com/pacific-avenue-redevelopment-plan