VENTNOR – In an effort to make the Ventnor City Pier more inviting, the city will be installing new bathrooms and a concession stand where fishers, runners, walkers and visitors can enjoy their morning coffee with a “million-dollar view.”
According to Commissioner of Public Works Lance Landgraf, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection has issued the permit needed to make the improvements. No approvals are needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he said.
The city will advertise for bids to build the improvements during January and open them in early February. If all the bids are in order, the Board of Commissioners could award a contract at its first meeting in February.
It took about a year to design the improvements and obtain environmental approvals, Commissioner Tim Kriebel said in a telephone interview Saturday morning.
“Adding the concession stand was a big deal for permitting. The building itself will be small, have cabinets and counter space, and will be leased to someone to sell coffee, soft drinks and light snacks, so everyone can enjoy their morning coffee with a million-dollar view,” he said.
Because Kriebel has 30 years of experience as a kitchen designer, he took the lead in working with SOSH Architects to design the bathrooms, he said.
“We’ll be going from long lines to access one bathroom, to three bathrooms with seven stalls,” he said. “There will also be a covered breezeway so people waiting to get into the bathrooms will be in the shade.”
The men’s room will have three urinals and one stall, the women’s room will have three stalls, and a family-room will accommodate families with small children and be ADA compliant.
There will be a seating area with Adirondack chairs and additional benches, and an 8-foot-wide pocket gate to make the area more inviting to spectators, he said.
“Part of the design includes an office for the Pier Master beyond the second gate, an area that is accessible to fishers only,” he said.
The pier, which is located at Cambridge Avenue, is the longest ocean fishing pier in New Jersey – about 1,000 feet long. It is open April through September. Fishing is permitted at the far end of the pier on a seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily basis, at a cost ranging from $175 for the season to $5 for walk-ons.
Originally built in 1914, the pier was rebuilt after a 1940 fire, and again following the 1963 storm. It underwent a $3.2 million makeover in 2007.
Kriebel said the city wants to start construction as soon as possible so the improvements are completed by early summer.
“We want to keep things as simple as possible, but there are always unforseens,” Kriebel said. “But between the city engineer, Lance and me, we all have construction experience so it should be done by early summer.”
The facilities were designed with “shore cottage” details that are not too old fashioned and not too modern, he said.
An alternate bid could upgrade the service lines, he said.
“We already have service that is adequate, but we might upgrade it if the bids come in right,” he said.
The city will add security cameras to ensure the buildings are safe.
Landgraf said the city may have to close access to the pier weekdays during the construction period, but that it would be open on weekends through the spring.
Although there will not be any improvements to the far end of the pier, such as locker space for fishers, officials hope the improvements will improve membership in the summer fishing program.
“It will be an improvement of one of Ventnor’s landmarks, and give people an additional reason to come to Ventnor,” Kriebel said.
More information about the pier, see www.ventnorcity.org/departments/FishingPier