Wildwood Crest, N.J.

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Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
Borough
Borough of Wildwood Crest

Wildwood Crest arch

Wildwood Crest Borough highlighted in Cape May County. Inset map: Cape May County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.

Census Bureau map of Wildwood Crest, New Jersey

Coordinates: 38.972591°N 74.838606°WCoordinates: 38.972591°N 74.838606°W[1][2]
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Cape May
Incorporated April 6, 1910
Government[5]
 • Type Walsh Act
 • Mayor Carl H. Groon (term ends December 31, 2013)[3]
 • Clerk Kevin Yecco[4]
Area[2]
 • Total 1.309 sq mi (3.390 km2)
 • Land 1.134 sq mi (2.937 km2)
 • Water 0.175 sq mi (0.454 km2)  13.38%
Area rank 470th of 566 in state
13th of 16 in county[2]
Elevation[6] 3 ft (0.9 m)
Population (2010 Census)[7][8][9]
 • Total 3,270
 • Estimate (2012[10]) 3,234
 • Rank 442nd of 566 in state
9th of 16 in county[11]
 • Density 2,884.0/sq mi (1,113.5/km2)
 • Density rank 221st of 566 in state
2nd of 16 in county[11]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 08260[12][13]
Area code(s) 609[14]
FIPS code 3400981200[15][2][16]
GNIS feature ID 0885445[17][2]
Website www.wildwoodcrest.org

Wildwood Crest is a borough 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 borough’s population was 3,270,[7][8][9] reflecting a decline of 710 (-17.8%) from the 3,980 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 349 (+9.6%) from the 3,631 counted in the 1990 Census.[18]

Wildwood Crest was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 6, 1910, from portions of Lower Township.[19] The area of the borough was first developed by Philip Baker in the 1910s as a southern extension to the resort of Wildwood.[20] It is a dry town, where alcohol cannot be sold, affirmed by the results of a referendum held in 1940,[21] joining Cape May Point, Ocean City and West Cape May among municipalities in Cape May restricting the sale of alcohol.[22]

The borough was ranked the second-best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium.[23]

Geography

Wildwood Crest is located at 38°58′21″N 74°50′19″W (38.972591,-74.838606). According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.309 square miles (3.390 km2), of which, 1.134 square miles (2.937 km2) of it was land and 0.175 square miles (0.454 km2) of it (13.38%) was water.[2][1]

Part of the Lower Township beach has been closed off for the protection of native birds such as the Piping Plover. These small birds have this area all to themselves so that their eggs may be protected from beachgoers.[24] There is a nature trail one may take through the dunes to explore this sheltered area of the beach.

Wildwood Crest borders the Diamond Beach section of Lower Township to the south, theCity of Wildwood to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The back bay of Wildwood Crest at sunset.

Public library

Wildwood Crest and its neighboring towns of Wildwood, North Wildwood, and West Wildwood make up “The Wildwoods” resort, a popular vacation destination for those living in all parts of New Jersey as well as the Philadelphia and New York City metropolitan area’s. Many vacationers and tourists have come from as far away as, New England and Canada and have made The Wildwoods a vacation hotspot, due to the area’s mild summer climate. Unlike its sister communities of Wildwood and North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest is generally set apart from the all-hours excitement that the resort area is known for. Many vacationers will find some of the quietest and most undisturbed beach space.

In recent years, condominiums have replaced many of the motels the area was known for, such as The Grand, The Ocean Breeze, El Coronado, and The Arcadia. Some restaurants have been torn down and replaced with condominiums, including The Captain’s Table, The Surfside, and Duffenetti’s. These changes in housing have significantly changed the demographics of this area, from being a more family oriented one-vacation-per-summer place (for the middle class) to being a weekend retreat for wealthier families.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1910 103
1920 161 56.3%
1930 738 358.4%
1940 661 −10.4%
1950 1,772 168.1%
1960 3,011 69.9%
1970 3,483 15.7%
1980 4,149 19.1%
1990 3,631 −12.5%
2000 3,980 9.6%
2010 3,270 −17.8%
Est. 2012 3,234 [10] −1.1%
Population sources:
1900-2000[25] 1900–1920[26]
1900-1910[27] 1910-1930[28]
1930-1990[29] 2000[30][31] 2010[7][8][9]

Census 2010

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,270 people, 1,532 households, and 917.7 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,884.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,113.5 /km2). There were 5,569 housing units at an average density of 4,911.6 per square mile (1,896.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.18% (3,047) White, 1.68% (55) Black or African American, 0.15% (5) Native American, 1.01% (33) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 1.80% (59) from other races, and 2.17% (71) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.63% (184) of the population.[7]

There were 1,532 households of which 18.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.73.[7]

In the borough, 16.6% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 19.6% from 25 to 44, 30.7% from 45 to 64, and 26.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49.8 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.[7]

The Census Bureau’s 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $46,111 (with a margin of error of +/- $13,652) and the median family income was $67,917 (+/- $15,113). Males had a median income of $49,567 (+/- $20,496) versus $54,250 (+/- $12,982) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,032 (+/- $8,687). About 8.1% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.[32]

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census[15] there were 3,980 people, 1,833 households, and 1,114 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,453.9 people per square mile (1,336.2/km2). There were 4,862 housing units at an average density of 4,219.3 per square mile (1,632.4/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 94.87% White, 1.23% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 2.21% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.22% of the population.[30][31]

There were 1,833 households out of which 20.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.76.[30][31]

In the borough the population was spread out with 18.2% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 25.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.[30][31]

The median income for a household in the borough was $36,579, and the median income for a family was $47,462. Males had a median income of $42,727 versus $27,500 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,741. About 4.4% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.[30][31]

Parks and recreation

The Battle of Turtle Gut Inlet memorial in Wildwood Crest to the seamen and officers of the Brigantine Nancy

The borough is bordered on the bay side by Sunset Lake. This was once connected to the Atlantic Ocean by Turtle Gut Inlet, which was closed in 1922. The Sunset Lake and Turtle Gut Park is located at New Jersey and Miami Avenues. A nearby memorial commemorates the Battle of Turtle Gut Inlet fought on June 29, 1776. This was the only American Revolutionary War battle fought in Cape May County.[33]

Government

Local government

Wildwood Crest has been governed under the Walsh Act, by a three-member commission, since 1937. All three commissioners are elected at-large on a nonpartisan basis to serve concurrent four-year terms of office, with the vote taking place as part of the November general election. At a reorganization conducted after each election, the commission selects one of its members to serve as mayor and gives each commissioner an assigned department to oversee and operate.[5][34] As part of an effort to reduce the costs of conducting a standalone election for commissioners and to generate greater participation from voters, the election for borough commissioners was shifted from May to November by an ordinance passed in 2012, with the first November election held in 2013.[35]

As of 2013, the Board of Commissioners consists of Mayor Carl Groon (Commissioner of Public Affairs and Public Safety), Don Cabrera (Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Public Property) and Joyce Gould (Commissioner of Revenue and Finance), whose terms of office all end on December 31, 2013.[36][37]

Cabrera, Gould and Groon ran unopposed in the 2013 general election and won new four-year terms of office.[38]

Federal, state and county representation

Wildwood Crest is located in the 2nd Congressional District[39] and is part of New Jersey’s 1st state legislative district.[8][40][41]

New Jersey’s Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City).[42] 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)[43][44] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[45][46]

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 Nelson Albano (D, Vineland) and Bob Andrzejczak (D, Middle Township).[47] Matthew W. Milam (D, Vineland) resigned from his seat in the Assembly as of February 28, 2013,[48] and was replaced by Andrzejczak who was sworn into office in March after being selected by Democratic committee members from Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties.[49] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[50] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[51]

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.[52] As of 2013, Cape May County’s Freeholders are Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton (Middle Township, term ends December 31, 2013),[53] Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard C. Desiderio (Sea Isle City, 2015),[54] Kristine Gabor (Upper Township, 2014)[55] and Will Morey (Wildwood Crest, 2014),[56] along with the vacant seat of M. Susan Sheppard expiring in 2013 that was vacated after Sheppard was sworn in as County Surrogate.[52][57] The county’s constitutional officers are Sheriff Gary Schafer (Ocean City, 2014),[58][59] Surrogate M. Susan Sheppard (Ocean City, 2015)[60] and County Clerk Rita Fulginiti (Ocean City, 2013).[61]

Politics

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 2,341 registered voters in Wildwood Crest, of which 436 (18.6%) were registered as Democrats, 1,052 (44.9%) were registered as Republicans and 850 (36.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered to other parties.[62]

In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 59.2% of the vote here (1,090 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama, who received 39.6% (729 votes), with 1,842 ballots cast among the borough’s 2,319 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.4%.[63] In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 60.4% of the vote here (1,203 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry, who received around 38.4% (766 votes), with 1,993 ballots cast among the borough’s 2,644 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 75.4.[64]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 60.8% of the vote here (806 ballots cast), ahead of both Democrat Jon Corzine with 32.9% (436 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 4.5% (59 votes), with 1,325 ballots cast among the borough’s 2,448 registered voters, yielding a 54.1% turnout.[65]

Education

The Wildwood Crest School District serves public school students in Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. Crest Memorial School had an enrollment of 283 students in the 2010-11 school year.[66]

For ninth through twelfth grades, public school students from Wildwood Crest attend Wildwood High School in Wildwood as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Wildwood Public School District.[67] Students also have the option of attending mainland schools such as Cape May County Technical High School.

Cape Trinity Catholic elementary school and Wildwood Catholic High School operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden.[68]

Commerce

Portions of Wildwood Crest are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone in The Wildwoods. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate at eligible merchants (half the 7% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.[69]

Notable motels in Wildwood Crest include the Caribbean Motel, built in 1957 in the Doo-Wop style and added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 24, 2005.[70][71]

Transportation

Roads and highways

The borough had a total of 31.88 miles (51.31 km) of roadways, of which 29.83 miles (48.01 km) are maintained by the municipality, 2.05 miles (3.30 km) by Cape May County and 11.07 miles (17.82 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.86 miles (2.99 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.[72]

County Route 621 (Pacific Avenue / New Jersey Avenue) runs for 2.0 miles (3.2 km) through the borough, from Lower Township to the south to Wildwood in the north.[73]

Public transportation

New Jersey Transit provides bus service to Philadelphia on the 313 and 315 routes, with seasonal service to Philadelphia on the 316 route and to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan on the 319 route.[74]

Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Wildwood Crest include: