The City of Wildwood, NJ Renames Rio Grande Avenue ‘Beach Ball Boulevard’
Beach Ball Boulevard is now a fun and functional, clearly recognizable part of the sensory overload of lights and Doo Wop design that is distinctly the Wildwoods.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Wildwoods municipal officials, businesses and residents are excited to announce that Rio Grande Avenue from the new Grand Gateway at the George Redding Bridge and east to Ocean Avenue to the famous Wildwoods sign has been renamed Beach Ball Boulevard.
Along with City officials, the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA) announced the completion of the all-new $13.7 million, Cape May County led gateway enhancement which commenced in February 2019. The project included road reconstruction, new streetscapes, and utility project stretches from 1,300 feet west of Susquehanna Avenue (near the existing eastern abutment joint of the George Redding Bridge) to Arctic Avenue in the City of Wildwood.
City of Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron noted that the extensive improvements that resulted in a brand-new corridor lent themselves to renaming the new gateway into the island.
"No disrespect to Rio Grande, but we now have our own identity. The most photographed location on our island arguably is the Wildwoods sign and Beach Ball Boulevard leads right into it," said Byron.
With the new administration’s pledge for open, inclusive and transparent communication, residents, second homeowners, and vacationers to the Wildwoods were asked to weigh in and provided their feedback regarding the renaming via a digital survey. As part of the survey the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Authority offered a chance to win a fun day in the Wildwoods for a family of four to include amusement and waterpark passes to Morey’s Piers, a round of golf at the Dragon Lair Blacklight Mini-golf, and tickets for the Wildwoods Sightseer Tram Car. This helped guide the City in this decision-making process. More than 5,000 surveys were returned with name change suggestions. An impartial nominating committee narrowed the suggestions to the top five submissions, and a select committee submitted their final recommendations to the Board of City Commissioners for their consideration – the result was the new name, Beach Ball Boulevard.
Beach Ball Boulevard is now a fun and functional, clearly recognizable part of the sensory overload of lights and Doo Wop design that is distinctly the Wildwoods, predicated on the colorful, elegantly tacky, bold and brash design era of the 1950’s, when neon lights, whacky shapes and humor dominated. Philadelphia architect Richard Stokes, who designed the now-famous 80-foot-long, 19-foot-high iconic Wildwoods sign, also designed the Grand Gateway as an extension to the larger-than-life brushed aluminum sign, which is aptly situation at the end of Beach Ball Boulevard at the Boardwalk; a fitting exclamation point to travelers’ journey on the Corridor, as they make their way to the beach, the boardwalk and their hotels for a fun family vacation in the Wildwoods.
For more information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.