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Wildwood mayor Ed Wolf responds following vote on recreation center

The Wildwood city commission voted to move forward with OLC Architecture to design a new recreation and outreach center at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park during a town hall meeting Monday night. 

A presentation from Maged Elsheikh, of OLC, provided conceptualized design plans for the center, which included banquet rooms, an art room, an indoor track, among other planned facilities. 

Five citizens in attendance spoke in favor of the proposed project following Elsheikh’s presentation. Some included faculty from Wildwood Middle School’s drama club who said more space was needed for students in such programs to have enriching experiences. 

Before casting votes, elected officials discussed the need for additional space, while also weighing in on topics related to security, cost, accessibility and population growth. 

The project is currently estimated to cost $10 million, with final costs nearing $12 million. 

The final decision came down to a split vote; the commission moved forward to authorized the city manager to develop contracts for the design project.  

Mayor Ed Wolf, who was one of the five-member commission to vote no, released a statement following the meeting: 

I have no question this facility is intended to serve the community. The concerns I raised this evening were centered around our best path forward, and exercising prudence with taxpayer funds as we take on the largest infrastructure project in Wildwood’s history, our new wastewater treatment plant. 

As an educator in Wildwood’s schools for more than a quarter-century, I taught and coached many of the residents in the room tonight, as well as their children, and still regard them as family. I have no doubt that the students and athletes who will use this facility—as well as our seniors and other community members—will benefit from it. 

As we proceed, I implore our management team to achieve the vision presented tonight with the same civic responsibility and meticulous attention to detail they demonstrate in other city affairs to ensure this investment does not jeopardize Wildwood’s current and future fiscal health.

The conceptualized design plan can be found on Wildwood’s government site under agenda notes: