Emergency beach replenishment underway in North Wildwood, NJ

Trish Hartman Image
Friday, June 7, 2024
Emergency beach replenishment underway in North Wildwood, NJ
Emergency beach replenishment underway in North Wildwood, NJ

NORTH WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- As sand was pumped onto the beach at 5th Avenue in North Wildwood on Friday, people stopped to watch.

"I think it's amazing that they're able to do this," said resident Pat Ricci.

The work started on Wednesday, and on Friday afternoon Governor Phil Murphy checked out the emergency project to widen the beaches this afternoon.

"When I saw pictures, I think in March of this year, particularly at that point right there in front of those hotels, we said enough already. Let's put our differences of perspective aside, let's get this done," said Murphy.

Residents say they've watched their beaches get smaller and smaller.

"We've been wanting help for a really long time down here. Our beaches have shrunk tremendously over the years and we've gotten no help," said resident Colleen Huston.

For years, officials say sand would wash down the island, ending up on Wildwood's large beaches.

And in the past, North Wildwood would use trucks to bring the sand back.

But now officials say the erosion is too severe to do that.

It led to a legal battle between the city and the state Department of Environmental Protection over what repairs could be made and when.

Senator Michael Testa says one turning point was when boardwalk preservation funding was recently secured.

"We had a conversation, we're going to have this beautiful new boardwalk, but we're not going to have a beach here in North Wildwood," said Sen. Michael Testa, representing New Jersey's 1st legislative district.

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello says seeing the work underway is a relief.

"Having people know that we have a beach back -- like the rest of the state of New Jersey we now have an engineered beach -- it's big," said Rosenello.

The DEP did issue an emergency authorization for this project.

Various beaches will be closed as this project moves along. Rosenello says they have the funding to replenish from 2nd to 23rd avenues.

Officials hope the project will be wrapped around the Fourth of July.