Shore Towns Try to Lower Badge Prices [AUDIO]
Even though snow is still hanging around, beach season isn't too far away, and Jersey Shore communities are thinking of ways to attract visitors to each individual stretch of sand.
According to The Press of Atlantic City, numerous Atlantic County towns are looking toward competitively bidding vendor contracts for ice cream sales, and allowing businesses to advertise closer to the water. Both approaches can be used to offset beach maintenance costs and drive down the price of beach badges.
In Seaside Heights, mayor William Akers said the borough has used advertisements on benches to shore up cash.
"We let them use their logos," Akers said of the companies that advertise. "Of course, the logos would have to go through, and make sure it's nothing offensive."
Additionally, Seaside has also started hosting concerts by the water, bringing in up-and-coming bands as a way to provide entertainment to visitors.
"You need to be creative in the events that you bring to town that are going to appeal to mass audiences, to bring more seats to the sand so that would offset the costs to the beach," said Akers.
However, the idea of more vendors on the sand and advertising on lifeguard boats isn't something that appeals to Belmar mayor Matt Doherty. He said, while that borough did a fundraising "buy-a-board" campaign after Sandy, they're weary of overdoing it.
"We want to strike the right balance between a beach that continues to be affordable for middle class families, but at the same time doesn't become over-commercialized," Doherty said.
Increasing beach attendance, said Doherty, remains the best strategy for keeping badge prices low.