VENTNOR – As the parade passes by Saturday evening, be sure to thank the dedicated volunteers of the Ventnor Beautification Committee for making it happen. The Ventnor City Board of Commissioners honored the group Thursday, Nov. 29 for demonstrating their community pride and sharing it with residents and visitors throughout the year.
Under the leadership of Shelley D’Orazio, the Ventnor Beautification Committee works all year long to not only put on some of the city’s best events, but in doing so raise money to make Ventnor a beautiful place to live, work and play.
Commissioner Lance Landgraf said the committee’s generosity has made a significant impact on the city.
“In recognition of the years of voluntary caring for the city, thank you for demonstrating continued commitment required to achieve excellence and beauty,” Landgraf said presenting a proclamation to each member present at the meeting.
“What you do Shelley, shows a passion for the city,” Commissioner Tim Kriebel said. “You really put your heart into it and we all appreciate it.”
Members of the committee include Shelley’s husband Peter D’Orazio, Marsha Galespie, Rose Hamilton, Colin Fuentes, Cindy Weinraub, Peter Mokover and Mike Bagnell.
“It’s a real committee effort with all we do,” Shelley D’Orazio said. “Everyone works very, very hard. It’s a great working team.”
In addition to the annual Twilight Holiday Parade, which is really a gift for local residents to enjoy the holiday season, the committee puts on the annual Chef’s Night Out, a progressive dining experience at local restaurants, and the biennial Ventnor Garden Tour, both of which raise money to make noticeable improvements on the boardwalk and city streets and neighborhoods.
Arun Mandi of the Atlantic Regional Food Corp. of Gibbsboro, who owns the new Dunkin’ franchise that opened Oct 23 on Ventnor Avenue, selected the Beautification Committee as the recipient of a $2,500 contribution to the city, which was presented during its grand opening.
“It was a great way to start our new relationship with Dunkin’ Donuts,” Kriebel said.
This year, the committee plans to tackle beautification at Ski Beach, which has the potential to be a bright gem on the city’s bay side. The Public Works Department is collaborating on a public-private partnership with the Ventnor Beautification Committee to make improvements at Ski Beach that could include a floating dock, new picnic tables, benches and a pavilion. Improvements will also be made to the boat ramp, according to Public Works Supervisor Ed Stinson.
Earlier this year, the committee donated $10,000 from the proceeds of the dine-around and other fundraising efforts to have trash receptacles manufactured and installed on the beach near street-ends from Vassar to Fredericksburg Avenue. The committee paid for the lumber needed to build the receptacles and the Public Works Department built and installed them. The enclosures hold two containers, one for recycling and the other for trash.
“The beach trash enclosures were a hit,” Landgraf said. The receptacles have been stored for the winter.
Over the years, committee has erected welcome signage on Atlantic, Ventnor, Burk and Wellington avenues; installed new trash receptacles on the Boardwalk and throughout the city; installed banners on the Boardwalk and Wellington Avenue; and purchased American flags for Atlantic and Ventnor avenues. It also plants flowers in the lifeguard boat at the entrance to the city on Wellington Avenue.
This past summer, the committee assisted with planting flowers in the fountain in the rear of the Ventnor City Cultural Arts Center, which is in a temporary state of disrepair. With the help of the art center’s director, Susan Van Duyne, and funding from the Beautification Committee, a crew of volunteers purchased and installed fabric planters and filled them with native plants and flowers that provide nourishment for the Monarch butterfly migration.