By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – The city Saturday, May 27, marked the official opening of the beach bathing season with a ribbon cutting and tour of the new Beach Patrol Headquarters at Suffolk Avenue and the beach.
Mayor Lance Landgraf and Commissioners Tim Kriebel and Maria Mento gathered with longtime Beach Patrol Chief Stan Bergman, Capt. David Funk and a crew of lifeguards and firefighters to cut the ribbon, which served a dual purpose this year. Not only did it mark the start of lifeguard coverage at specific locations along the beach, but it gave residents a chance to see the new building that was designed to match the improvements on the Ventnor Fishing Pier.
Landgraf presented Bergman with a framed photograph depicting Bergman and members of the Beach Patrol in 1967 in front of City Hall. Landgraf said he hoped Bergman would hang it in his new office.
“This building was certainly due to be replaced. It leaked, the phones didn’t work when it rained and it certainly didn’t have the accessibility for showers that our guys and girls need,” he said. “We are so proud of this structure. It takes the theme on our Pier and brings it through our community.”
Bergman said the new building is like night and day compared to the one that was demolished.
“This is like the Taj Mahal,” he said.
Funk was busy at his desk reviewing a schedule for lifeguard coverage for the 100 days of summer.
“It’s great so far,” he said, “much better than we had before.”
William McLees Architecture of Somers Point designed it, and Wilkinson & Sons Construction, Inc. built the 1,315-square-foot, two story structure at a cost of $755,000. It stands in the same footprint as the old building, but it is now 2 feet higher than base flood elevation.
The old building, which was built by the Public Works Department, was no longer repairable and was unsafe for employees, Landgraf said.
Amenities offered in the new headquarters include a first aid station, administrative offices, locker rooms, two restrooms with showers, a radio center and a general meeting room that can be used for training sessions.
The view from the second floor deck is not only beautiful to look at but it also serves as an additional safety feature where supervisors can keep a keen eye on surf conditions and observe their guards in action.
The following beaches will be guarded 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Memorial Day weekend:
- Suffolk Avenue
- Dorset Avenue
- New Haven Avenue
- Lafayette Avenue
Additional locations will be added on the weekends until June 24, when all beaches are expected to be guarded. Swim only where lifeguards are present.
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