LONGPORT – Mayor Nicholas Russo, who will be sworn into a fourth term on the Longport Board of Commissioners on Jan. 1, 2021, along with Commissioners Dan Lawler and Jim Leeds, said he has an “optimistic” view of what’s to come. He shares this thoughts about the lessons learned from the pandemic and what 2021 holds in store for the residents and visitors of Longport.
Like many Americans, I continue to be optimistic as we look forward to the new year. The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic certainly knew no political, cultural, geographic, economic, societal or demographic boundaries. With the significant number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, and particularly in the United States, the pandemic taught us that there is really nowhere to hide that is truly COVID-19 free. Sadly, lives are being lost in all portions of New Jersey, including our own southern New Jersey area. Now, Longport is experiencing much more activity with residents using their Longport homes more frequently as a means to escape from some urban or metropolitan areas.
Longport did not have many of the COVID-19 challenges that cities with large commercial areas experienced. However, it has been important for Longport to work with our few local businesses and make reasonable accommodations to ensure that those businesses are able to remain open to serve the public if only in a limited capacity. The Longport governing body felt that it was extremely important for our beaches to be assessable to all before, during and after the bathing season. This is a testament to Longport’s commitment to ensure that the mental health of our residents and visitors was also addressed, but still recognizing that all virus prevention safety precautions were instituted and enforced.
The New Year will begin with Longport, like many other communities, being better prepared than we were when the pandemic first began about 10 months ago. The shortages of vital supplies such as masks and gloves, antiseptics, cleaning supplies, high risk PPEs and pro-active sanitizing equipment, have now all been addressed and are readily available for our employees. The pandemic forced Longport, like all other New Jersey municipalities, to develop protocols and procedures to protect not only our residents but also our valued employees. Thus, even with the all the health related restrictions, we have been able to provide vital uninterrupted services.
It is looking like 2021 will be a much better year than 2020!
Nationally, many Americans will be participating in a nationwide vaccination project to get this pandemic under control helping America get back to a degree of normalcy. Locally, I am excited to see our sister communities’ projects that will benefit not only their own cities, but also have a positive effect on our entire Downbeach area. Ventnor City continues to expand and promote diverse dining experiences to the island and the re-opening of the Ventnor Theater should be fantastic. Margate’s aggressive project along Amherst Avenue should continue to provide outdoor and indoor activities to many regardless of age and that will certainly increase the quality of life for all of us.
Here in Longport, we are finishing several projects and getting ready to start a few others. The sidewalk project for homes on the northside of the city, that did not previously have concrete sidewalks, is almost finished. Residents already expressed positive comments regarding this program. Now beach goers and our children will no longer have to traverse wagons, baby strollers and bikes through grass or be forced into the streets.
The beach replenishment project is nearly complete, and this was achieved through a minimum of inconvenience. Permitting for drilling has been completed for our new well on 31st Avenue and also for the Longport Fire Department’s fire boat dock and boat lift behind Borough Hall.
So, in conclusion I want to take a moment, on behalf of Commissioner Dan Lawler, Commissioner Jim Leeds and myself, to wish all the readers and sponsors of Downbeach.com a joyous, healthy and prosperous New Year! Happy 2021!
Mayor Nick Russo