Sea Isle City, New Jersey

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Sea Isle City, New Jersey
City
City of Sea Isle City
Seaislecity-nj-usa.jpg
Sea Isle City highlighted in Cape May County. Inset map: Cape May County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Sea Isle City highlighted in Cape May County. Inset map: Cape May County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Sea Isle City, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Sea Isle City, New Jersey
Coordinates: 39°09′14″N 74°41′47″W / 39.153798°N 74.696409°W / 39.153798; -74.696409Coordinates: 39°09′14″N 74°41′47″W / 39.153798°N 74.696409°W / 39.153798; -74.696409[1][2]
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Cape May
Incorporated May 22, 1882
Government[6]
 • Type Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
 • Mayor Leonard C. Desiderio (term ends April 30, 2013)[3]
 • Administrator George Savastano[4]
 • Clerk Cindy Griffith[5]
Area[2]
 • Total 2.531 sq mi (6.557 km2)
 • Land 2.169 sq mi (5.618 km2)
 • Water 0.362 sq mi (0.938 km2)  14.31%
Area rank 372nd of 566 in state
9th of 16 in county[2]
Elevation[7] 7 ft (2 m)
Population (2010 Census)[8][9][10]
 • Total 2,114
 • Estimate (2013)[11] 2,096
 • Rank 483rd of 566 in state
11th of 16 in county[12]
 • Density 974.5/sq mi (376.3/km2)
 • Density rank 385th of 566 in state
8th of 16 in county[12]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 08243[13][14]
Area code(s) 609 exchanges: 263, 427, 861[15]
FIPS code 3400966390[16][2][17]
GNIS feature ID 0885389[18][2]
Website sea-isle-city.nj.us

Sea Isle City is a city in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 2,114,[8][9][10] reflecting a decline of 721 (-25.4%) from the 2,835 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 143 (+5.3%) from the 2,692 counted in the 1990 Census.[19] Visitors raise the population to as much as 40,000 during the peak summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day.[20] Sea Isle City is located on Ludlam Island, which also contains the Strathmere section of Upper Township.

Sea Isle City was originally incorporated as a borough on May 22, 1882, from portions of Dennis Township, based on the results of a referendum held six days earlier. The borough was reincorporated on March 31, 1890. On April 30, 1907, the area was reincorporated as the City of Sea Isle City, based on the results of a referendum held on April 20, 1907.[21]

History[edit]

Sea Isle City was founded in 1882 by Charles K. Landis, who was also the founder of Vineland, New Jersey. The main street in town, Landis Avenue, is named for the town's founder. The oldest building in Sea Isle City is The Colonnade Inn, a Victorian building dating back to the 1800s. From 1885 until 1924, Sea Isle City was the location of Ludlam's Beach Lighthouse. The structure was moved to the corner of Landis Avenue and 35th Street (3414 Landis Ave), and was a private residence (rental) for many years. A non-profit group, The Friends of the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse, was unsuccessful in its efforts to raise enough money to save the building from demolition by moving it to a new location and restoring it. It was demolished on September 21, 2010, to make way for new town homes.[22]

The oil tanker MV Sea Isle City was renamed for this city when it was reflagged and registered in the United States in 1987 during Operation Earnest Will. It was struck by a Silkworm missile off Kuwait on October 16, 1987, wounding 18 crew members and seriously damaging the ship.[23]

Coastal storms[edit]

There have been many hurricanes and huge storms that have hit the small island of Sea Isle City, New Jersey. The storms of the 1890s, 1920s, and the 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane have been some of the worst natural disasters to hit the coast of New Jersey. The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, a major Nor'easter that hit on March 6, 1962, tops all other storms that have hit the area in the recent past. The storm lasted three days of continuous rain. Many people evacuated in time to save their lives, but came back to find their homes and assets destroyed. Eventually, the only way out of town was the causeway, and when that flooded, rescuers had to use helicopters to evacuate the rest of the town. It was categorized as a "100-year storm," in which almost every beach front home or property was destroyed or damaged.[24]

About a week later when the storm had subsided, Sea Isle City citizens moved back into their homes and began the needed revisions. As a result of the storm, a "dune line" was formed, and this caused beach front businesses and homes to move back from the shoreline an average of one block.

Tourism[edit]

Sea Isle City has long been popular with summer visitors. In 2002, the printed message on its signature water tower was changed from "Welcome to Sea Isle City" to "Smile! You're in Sea Isle City". "Sara the Turtle Day" is the city's local holiday, celebrating a fictional turtle named Sara who became the city's unofficial mascot.[25] The city hosts a Polar bear plunge every February, holding the 19th annual event in 2013, featuring many participants dressed in costume.[26]

In 1999, the city's only amusement park, Fun City, was closed and the land was sold for development of beach homes. In 2009, a new amusement park called Gillian's Funland was opened on JFK Boulevard by the bay as a public-private venture between Sea Isle City and neighboring Ocean City mayor Jay Gillian. Funland was permanently removed, however, following the 2013 summer season for financial reasons in part due to losses from Hurricane Sandy.[27]

In 2011, Sea Isle City began a $14 million makeover to create a public corridor from the bay to the ocean. Plans included a new boathouse on the marina, installing a new playground and basketball courts on JFK Boulevard and erecting a pavilion and band shell at Excursion Park on the city’s Promenade overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.[28] Sea Isle City became one of the first towns in New Jersey, along with Salem City and Egg Harbor City, to receive LED streetlights powered solely by wind and solar energy. The lights were installed at the Promenade at JFK Boulevard by the South Jersey Economic Development District and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.[29]

Geography[edit]

Sea Isle City is located at 39°09′14″N 74°41′47″W / 39.153798°N 74.696409°W / 39.153798; -74.696409 (39.153798,-74.696409). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 2.531 square miles (6.557 km2), of which, 2.169 square miles (5.618 km2) of it is land and 0.362 square miles (0.938 km2) of it (14.31%) is water.[1][2]

Sea Isle City is a beach town with most of its housing used for vacation rentals and second homes. It has a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) beachfront promenade and several arcades, shops, restaurants and bars in the center of town. The epicenter of the town is 48th Street.

Sea Isle is not an "island city" as it shares its land on Ludlam Island with Strathmere. Neighboring Ocean City, however, is an island city as the entire land mass, surrounded by water, belongs to the town. Strathmere (located at the north end of Ludlam Island) is not part of Sea Isle City. It is part of Upper Township. Townsend Inlet, located at the south of the island, is part of the city

Sea Isle City borders Upper Township, Dennis Township, Middle Township, Avalon Borough, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 776
1900 340 −56.2%
1910 551 62.1%
1920 564 2.4%
1930 850 50.7%
1940 773 −9.1%
1950 993 28.5%
1960 1,393 40.3%
1970 1,712 22.9%
1980 2,644 54.4%
1990 2,692 1.8%
2000 2,835 5.3%
2010 2,114 −25.4%
Est. 2013 2,096 [11] −0.9%
Population sources:
1890-2000[30] 1890-1920[31] 1890[32]
1890-1910[33] 1910-1930[34]
1930-1990[35] 2000[36][37] 2010[8][9][10]

Census 2010[edit]

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,114 people, 1,041 households, and 646.5 families residing in the city. The population density was 974.5 per square mile (376.3 /km2). There were 6,900 housing units at an average density of 3,180.8 per square mile (1,228.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.63% (2,085) White, 0.09% (2) Black or African American, 0.24% (5) Native American, 0.19% (4) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.47% (10) from other races, and 0.38% (8) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.41% (51) of the population.[8]

There were 1,041 households, of which 9.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.03 and the average family size was 2.54.[8]

In the city, 10.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 13.2% from 25 to 44, 37.6% from 45 to 64, and 32.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 58.1 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.4 males.[8]

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $54,715 (with a margin of error of +/- $9,859) and the median family income was $80,219 (+/- $21,265). Males had a median income of $66,771 (+/- $34,710) versus $44,087 (+/- $6,534) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $47,174 (+/- $10,684). About 3.1% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.0% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.[38]

Census 2000[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[16] there were 2,835 people, 1,370 households, and 794 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,287.3 people per square mile (497.5/km2). There were 6,622 housing units at an average density of 1, 162.2/km2 (3,006.9/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 97.88% White, 0.28% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.06% of the population.[36][37]

As of the 2000 Census, 30.5% of Sea Isle City residents were of Irish ancestry, the 34th-highest percentage of any municipality in the United States, and sixth-highest in New Jersey, among all places with more than 1,000 residents identifying their ancestry.[39]

There were 1,370 households out of which 15.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.0% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.71.[36][37]

In the city the population was spread out with 15.7% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 20.8% from 25 to 44, 31.4% from 45 to 64, and 27.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.[36][37]

The median income for a household in the city was $45,708, and the median income for a family was $62,847. Males had a median income of $42,713 versus $31,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,754. About 6.4% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.7% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.[36][37]

Government[edit]

Local government[edit]

As of July 1, 2007, Sea Isle City is governed within the Faulkner Act under a MaYor-Council form of government by a mayor and a five-member city council.[40] The mayor and council members serve four-year terms of office and are chosen at-large in non-partisan elections held in May. Either three council seats or two council seats and the mayoral seat are up for election in odd-numbered years.[6] Prior to 2007, Sea Isle City had been governed under the Walsh Act form of New Jersey municipal government, by a three-member commission, starting in 1913.[41]

As of 2014, the Mayor of Sea Isle City is Leonard C. Desiderio, whose term of office ends on June 30, 2015. Members of the Council are Council President Mary Tighe (2017), John J. Divney (2017), Frank P. Edwardi, Jr. (2015), Jack C. Gibson (2017) and William J. Kehner (2015).[42][43][44][45][46]

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

Sea Isle City is located in the 2nd Congressional District[47] and is part of New Jersey's 1st state legislative district.[9][48][49]

New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City).[50] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg)[51][52] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[53][54]

The 1st Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Jeff Van Drew (D, Dennis Township) and in the General Assembly by Bob Andrzejczak (D, Middle Township) and Sam Fiocchi (R, Vineland).[55] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[56] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[57]

Cape May County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members, elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year; At an annual reorganization held each January, the freeholders select one member to serve as Director and another to serve as Vice-Director.[58] As of 2013, Cape May County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton (Middle Township, term ends December 31, 2013),[59] Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard C. Desiderio (Sea Isle City, 2015),[60] Kristine Gabor (Upper Township, 2014)[61] and Will Morey (Wildwood Crest, 2014),[62] along with the vacant seat of M. Susan Sheppard expiring in 2013 that was vacated after Sheppard was sworn in as County Surrogate.[58][63] The county's constitutional officers are Sheriff Gary Schafer (Ocean City, 2014),[64][65] Surrogate M. Susan Sheppard (Ocean City, 2015)[66] and County Clerk Rita Fulginiti (Ocean City, 2013).[67]

Politics[edit]

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 2,060 registered voters in Sea Isle City, of which 340 (16.5%) were registered as Democrats, 1,090 (52.9%) were registered as Republicans and 629 (30.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party.[68]

In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 58.6% of the vote here (977 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama, who received 40.1% (669 votes), with 1,668 ballots cast among the city's 2,041 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.7%.[69] In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 61.7% of the vote here (1,041 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry, who received 37.0% (625 votes), with 1,687 ballots cast among the city's 2,177 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 77.5.[70]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 59.6% of the vote here (753 ballots cast), ahead of both Democrat Jon Corzine with 32.4% (409 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 4.6% (58 votes), with 1,264 ballots cast among the city's 2,094 registered voters, yielding a 60.4% turnout.[71]

Education[edit]

Resident public school students had been served by the Sea Isle City School District until the end of the 2012 school year. Merger discussions with the Ocean City School District in 2008 ended after the Ocean City district indicated that it did want to accept Sea Isle City's tenured teachers, which it would be required to do under state law. Sea Isle City currently spends $35,000 per student and hoped to see savings through the merger, even after adding in transportation costs.[72] The Sea Isle City district graduated its last eighth grade class in June 2009 and with the 2010-11 school year, students from Sea Isle City started attending the Ocean City schools starting in fifth grade.[73] As of June 30, 2012, Sea Isle City School District no longer operates, in the face of an order by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education that was based on declining enrollment and budgetary issues. All students from Sea Isle City in public school for pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade attend Ocean City Public Schools.[74]

All Sea Isle City students in public school for Kindergarten through twelfth grade are served by the Ocean City School District. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's three schools had an enrollment of 2,073 students and 183.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.32:1.[75] Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[76]) are Ocean City Primary School[77] (K-3; 344 students), Ocean City Intermediate School[78] (4-8; 470 students) and Ocean City High School[79] (9-12; 1,259 students).[80][81]

Students from Corbin City, Sea Isle City and Upper Township attend Ocean City High School for ninth through twelfth grades as part of sending/receiving relationships with their respective school districts.[82]

Transportation[edit]

Roads and highways[edit]

The city had a total of 33.06 miles (53.20 km) of roadways, of which 27.53 miles (44.31 km) are maintained by the municipality and 5.53 miles (8.90 km) by Cape May County.[83]

Exit 17 on the Garden State Parkway in Dennis Township provides access to Sea Isle City via Sea Isle Boulevard which becomes JFK Boulevard.[84] Landis Boulevard (County Route 619) follows the ocean, traversing 5 miles (8.0 km) across the city, from the Strathmere section of Upper Township in the north to Avalon in the south.[85]

Public transportation[edit]

New Jersey Transit offers the 315 inter-city bus route that runs through the town three times a day and shuttles people to and from Philadelphia, and the 319 route to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.[86] However, due to weight restrictions on the Townsend Inlet Bridge, New Jersey Transit 315/319 bus service only stops on Central Avenue and JFK Boulevard. Service was previously suspended due to summer traffic until a deal has been reached.[87] Sea Isle City has a trolley service that operates along Landis Avenue and the JFK Boulevard corridor from June through September.[88][89]

Rail service was provided to the island by both the Atlantic City Railroad, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway, and the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad, owned by the rival Pennsylvania Railroad. The Atlantic City Railroad's line was a continuation of its line to Ocean City, running across Corson's Inlet and through Strathmere.[90] The West Jersey and Seashore Railroad tracks branched from the Cape May Line at Sea Isle Junction, and entered the city at 41st Street, from where it continued south to Stone Harbor.[91] The train was in use from the early 1900s until the mid-1930s after the merger of the two railroads when the tracks were removed and the streets were paved due to increase use of cars.

Notable people[edit]

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Sea Isle City include:

References[edit]

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  3. ^ 2013 New Jersey Mayors Directory, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Accessed May 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Department of Administration, Sea Isle City. Accessed October 17, 2012.
  5. ^ City Clerk, Sea Isle City. Accessed October 17, 2012.
  6. ^ a b 2012 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, March 2013, p. 8.
  7. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: City of Sea Isle City, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed March 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f DP-1 - Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 for Sea Isle City city, Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed October 17, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d Municipalities Grouped by 2011-2020 Legislative Districts, New Jersey Department of State, p. 1. Accessed January 6, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2010 for Sea Isle City city, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Accessed October 17, 2012.
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  13. ^ Look Up a ZIP Code for Sea Isle City, NJ, United States Postal Service. Accessed December 3, 2011.
  14. ^ Zip Codes, State of New Jersey. Accessed November 5, 2013.
  15. ^ Area Code Lookup - NPA NXX for Sea Isle City, NJ, Area-Codes.com. Accessed November 5, 2013.
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  20. ^ Wilson, Michael. "Where Police Rookies Get Their Feet Wet", The New York Times, May 22, 2009. Accessed July 4, 2011. "That season has arrived in Sea Isle City, a small coastal community about 140 miles from New York and 75 miles from Philadelphia whose population starting this weekend swells to 40,000 from about 2,600 and stays ballooned through Labor Day."
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  22. ^ Greenberg, Ted. "Historic Lighthouse Gets Demolished", WCAU, September 22, 2010. Accessed November 5, 2013. "Demolition began Tuesday on a Sea Isle City landmark after a failed bid to save it.The former 1885 Ludlam Beach Lighthouse, situated about a block from the beach at 3414 Landis Ave., was torn down to make way for new homes."
  23. ^ Mann, Jim. "Silkworm Missile Off World Market, China's Envoy Says", Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1987. Accessed August 4, 2011. "On Oct. 16, a Silkworm apparently fired by Iranian forces heavily damaged the Sea Isle City, one of the Kuwaiti oil tankers re-registered under the American flag as part of the U.S. tanker escort effort."
  24. ^ Urgo, Jacqueline. "Face-lift for Sea Isle City Shore resort embarks on a $13.4 million project to spiff up its entryway.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 7, 2009. Accessed August 4, 2011. "Building booms occurred after severe storms battered much of the New Jersey coastline in 1944 and 1962. In Sea Isle, the 1962 nor'easter destroyed or significantly damaged nearly every beachfront structure."
  25. ^ "Sea Isle City's 2013 Sara the Turtle Festival Was Largest to Date", Cape May County Herald, June 21, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013. "SEA ISLE CITY – The 2013 Sara the Turtle Festival attracted hundreds of children and their families to Sea Isle City’s Excursion Park on June 20. The annual event, which is hosted by Sea Isle’s Division of Tourism, featured live animal and environmental exhibits, a 'Diaper Derby' for crawling babies, 'Turtle Races' on the sand for older children, a live performance by 'The Turtlesingers' and other free entertainment."
  26. ^ Rose, Lisa. "Polar Bear Plunge in Sea Isle City features sleet, Speedos and bikinis", The Star-Ledger, February 19, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013. "Sleet rained down on folks in Speedos and bikinis in Sea Isle City this past weekend, as the town hosted its 19th annual Polar Bear Plunge.The cold jump in the ocean was only part of the politically incorrect spectacle, which featured a phantasmagoric costume contest and a ceremonial crowning of a Polar Bear King and Queen."
  27. ^ Ianieri, Brian [1], "Sea Isle amusement park closes for good", Press of Atlantic City, February 22, 2014. Accessed July 21, 2014
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  29. ^ Procida, Lee. "Egg Harbor City and Sea Isle City to test hybrid streetlights", The Press of Atlantic City, May 11, 2011. Accessed July 22, 2014. "Egg Harbor and Sea Isle cities will join Salem as the first in the state to get streetlights powered solely by the wind and sun, a technology with the potential to take tens of thousands of lampposts off the electricity grid in southern New Jersey."
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  44. ^ Miller, Michael. "Sea Isle City, Ocean City, Cape May hold annual post-election reorganization meetings", The Press of Atlantic City, July 1, 2011. Accessed August 4, 2011. "Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio and two city councilmen were sworn into office Friday in one of three municipal reorganizations in Cape May County. Desiderio beat challenger Michael McHale for mayor in May. Councilmen Frank Edwardi and William Kehner also were re-elected."
  45. ^ Procida, Lee. "Avalon, Sea Isle City each elect 2 incumbents, 1 newcomer in unopposed elections", The Press of Atlantic City, May 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013. "In Sea Isle City, incumbents Mary L. Tighe and John J. Divney won re-election to four-year terms while former Republican Assemblyman John C. 'Jack' Gibson won a seat on City Council."
  46. ^ Inauguration and Re-Organization and City Council Meeting Minutes, Monday, July 1, 2013, City of Sea Isle City. Accessed November 5, 2013. "Newly Sworn in Council Members John Divney, Jack Gibson and Mary Tighe each had the opportunity to address the audience. The Clerk then asked for nominations for Council President for a one year term, ending June 30, 2014. Mr. Divney nominated Ms. Tighe and Mr. Edwardi seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations and a unanimous aye vote followed nominating Ms. Tighe."
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Strathmere
Beaches of New Jersey Succeeded by
Avalon