A grant application (click on the first PDF) and a map (click on second PDF) provide a little more information on a to build a boardwalk connecting a rail trail in Corson's Inlet State Park to 59th Street.
The state Department of Environmental Protection, in a Dec. 21 news release, announced $5,850 in funding for a "59th Street Ocean City Boardwalk."
The rail trail dead-ends in the marshes less than 100 yards from Ocean City streets, and the boardwalk would allow hikers to complete a loop through the park by connecting to an existing beachside trail via 59th Street, according to the application. (The rail trail is accessible from the park's boat-ramp parking lot on the causeway to Strathmere.)
It remains unclear how much the proposed boardwalk project would cost and if it would be able to receive the required environmental permits.
DEP spokesman Lawrence Hajna said the boardwalk would be subject to the state's Division of Land Use permitting process.
"The grant is a step in the process," Hajna said.
Hajna said he is not aware of a recent study by the state Department of Transportation and the consulting RBA Group of a potential raised-boardwalk rail trail in the wetlands about a mile away.
The lists potential environmental concerns and 13 threatened or endangered species that potentially could be affected. It estimates the cost of a raised boardwalk for 1.5 miles of bike path at $2.25 million to $3 million.
Various sections of the report suggest a process that might include:
- Development of a specific design (at a cost)
- NJDEP CAFRA Permit, NJDEP Waterfront Permit, NJDEP Individual Wetland Permit and Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Approval, NJDEP 401 Water Quality Certification, NJDEP Stormwater Approval, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 10 Permit including NOAA National Marine Fisheries Essential Fish Habitat Assessment and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Review for Federal Threatened and Endangered Species Impacts, and Federal Coastal Zone Management Consistency Determination.
- Additional costs for required "wetlands mitigation" that could exceed the cost of the project itself.
The federal grant requires a $3,700 match. City officials had not heard of the grant when it was announced in December.