Beach Badge Sales Strong in New Jersey
Some Jersey shore communities still recovering from Sandy are encouraged by beach badge sales this season, nearly two years after the devastating hurricane.
"The seasonal badges are up considerably," said Bay Head Mayor Bill Curtis. "Last year was an anomaly because we opened the beaches, but a lot of people were homeless last year. They're a little bit better than last year, quite a bit better."
And while daily beach badge sales were slow for the first part of the season, things have picked up since Fourth of July. "Don't know why, other than the schools in North Jersey were probably open longer this year and people didn't come down," Curtis said.
Businesses in Bay Head are starting to advertise more, all 11 beach access points are open and the beaches are clean, according to Curtis.
Despite strong beach badge sales, shore rentals have been slow in Bay Head.
"Rentals are down a little bit, quite a bit actually this year" Curtis said, "But I think people are afraid to come back still." However, Curtis is optimistic that rentals will improve in 2015 once the Route 35 reconstruction project is completed. "I think we'll be almost back to normal, or whatever the new normal is."
In Seaside Heights, badges are up significantly compared to 2013 thanks to a lot of day- trippers and nice weekend weather, according to Mayor Bill Akers. "Right now, we're almost $650,000 in the plus column, which is huge from last year, and we still have about 47 days left, so I'm very encouraged by that early on."
Heading into August, Seaside will be focusing more on its upcoming events."The weekends have been extremely strong. I think where there's tremendous room to grow is Monday to Friday, and we have to start concentrating our efforts there," Akers said.
He said Seaside offers a number of free events, including a movie night on Thursdays and Sundays, concerts and fireworks on Wednesdays. "We have something almost every day of the week that's free, that you can participate in and is family-oriented," Akers said.