NJ Shore Towns Work To Clean Up Image Before Summer [AUDIO]
Some New Jersey shore towns are trying to clean up their image, following an increase in violations for underage drinking, loud noise and urinating in public last summer.
Police say there were over 1,000 citations for general misbehavior and quality of life issues in Pt. Pleasant Beach in 2011, nearly double the amount of 2010. That has prompted the town to consider a midnight last call at bars. The ordinance was introduced, but has since been tabled because of ongoing negotiations.
Officials on the township council refused to comment.
"I just hope that its fair for all sides" said Mary Lou Halverson, spokesperson for Jenkinsons, a bar, restaurant and nightclub on the Pt. Pleasant Beach boardwalk.
Lower Township and other Cape May communities have passed ordinances that would ticket teens for underage drinking done at house parties, not just parents.
"Its not a revenue raiser...its all about protecting our youth" said Lower Township Mayor Mike Beck.
Cape May County Tourism Director Diane Weiland said their focus is families.
"Those who are staying at the hotels, going to the boardwalk, the Wildwoods and other towns don't want to chase that customer away, and a lot of times if there's a lot of wild behavior, that's what happens."
Even with the new laws, there are challenges for shore towns.
"Towns need to determine what they want their brand to be. Do they want it to be the party mecca, the Vegas of the Jersey shore or do they want it be about families?" said Michael Cherenson, executive VP of Success Communications, a marketing firm in Parsippany.
Cherenson said while building a brand is important, reality shows like MTV's "Jersey Shore" may have put the state on the map too much for drinking, partying and fighting.
"The show is definitely highlighting and drawing attention to some of the negative behaviors that go on at bars along the Jersey shore."