The Wildwoods Rio Grande Ave to Beach Ball Boulevard. by Tony Deutsch

After thinking about the name change of Rio Grande Ave to Beach Ball Boulevard and reading the comments and messages. I wanted to do an uncensored post about my feelings and what I think about it. I think the name fits the beach ball theme the town is famous for where the Wildwood sign is at the end of Rio Grande Ave and the beach. No one leaves the island before they take a photo there. 365 days a year you will see someone taking a photo at the beach balls, they love them!

Let me start by saying this flood mitigation project has been in the wheel house since 2016 and was funded by the County with no taxpayer dollars. Then the idea and the opportunity  came about to make an attractive new cool gateway that would be unique to The Wildwoods like no other gateway to a shore resort town also with no taxpayer dollars. 

In March of 2020 city officials asked for suggestions to rename Rio Grande Ave to a new name and let locals and visitors give their ideas on what the new name should or might be, or keep it Rio Grande Ave where you could vote online. Thousands of entries were received to change the name. 

To tell you the truth I never thought Rio Grande fit the city even when I was a kid and worked at Jim’s Auto Body on Taylor ave and used to visit the Rio Grande Cafe, The Peg Leg Lounge and The Tom Cat. I used to think… Why is it called Rio Grande? 

Change was something I struggled with when the infamous U.S. housing bubble started in the mid-2000s and landmarks I loved were torn down for new condos and homes. But I learned to embrace change and do like the renaming of Rio Grande Ave to Beach Ball Boulevard. Remember Wildwood was Holly Beach until the town was changed to Wildwood in 1912 and I would bet some of the people back then didn’t like the change either. Do you think Bobby Rydell  would have written “Oh those Holly Beach Days?”  probably NOT. 

Change isn’t easy, I know.. And you’re not going to make everyone happy, but let’s all try and embrace the change to the beautiful new gateway we never had before and try and give the new name a chance. 

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