MARGATE – Lucy the Elephant has jumped on the bandwagon to rebuild the boardwalk on Margate’s beach. A rally in support of rebuilding the boardwalk will be held at Lucy’s park, 9200 Atlantic Ave., 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26.
According to the Save Lucy Committee CEO Richard Helfant, Lucy will do whatever she can to support the newly formed Margate Boardwalk Committee’s efforts to replace “what should have been there all along.”
“Lucy is 1,000 percent behind it,” Helfant said in a telephone interview Tuesday, Aug. 14. “It will not just benefit Lucy, it will benefit the entire town.”
Helfant said the protective sand dune built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last summer created a dead zone along the beach between the dune and bulkhead. Rebuilding the boardwalk on the landward side of the dune will utilize that space and “turn a negative into a positive,” he said.
Lucy would surely benefit from rebuilding the boardwalk by creating another means of bringing Atlantic City tourists to the National Historic Landmark. But there are other reasons to rebuild it, Helfant says.
“It will improve handicapped accessibility for the elderly without them having to traverse the steep dune, and it will improve public safety by getting bike riders and runners off Atlantic Avenue, where they can be killed, and onto the boardwalk where they belong,” he said.
Additionally, it would create a sense of community for the city, something that has been waning over the years, he said.
“It’s a natural for the city to have a boardwalk. Especially, when you look at how many Margate residents and visitors utilize the Ventnor boardwalk,” he said.
Helfant said Lucy has been silent on many controversial issues over her lifetime, but she has spoken out on this one.
“It took 137 years for Lucy to say something. Today she is saying she wants her boardwalk back,” he said. “It would be the best thing to happened in Margate since saving Lucy from the wrecking ball.”
Margate Boardwalk Committee Chairman Glenn Klotz said the rally will allow Margate residents and visitors to celebrate the beginning of the community’s effort to bring back its long-lost boardwalk.
“Bring your own banners or signs if you’d like. Come prepared to have some fun let’s make this a joyous gathering,” he said on the committee’s Facebook page.
The five-member committee that includes Steve Davidson, Charlene Polakoff, Ellen Lichtenstein, Stefanie Bloch and Klotz, has also teamed up with the Margate Historical Society for an educational program being held 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the Bloom Pavilion at Huntington Avenue and the beach.
The historical society will make a presentation about the history of the old boardwalk, which was destroyed in a hurricane in 1944, and Klotz will be presenting information about plans for the new boardwalk.
For more information, see Friends of the Margate Boardwalk on Facebook.