Visiting the Shore This Year – Will You Spend More Money There Because of Hurricane Sandy? [POLL]
The other night I mentioned there was a “moral obligation” to visit the shore to try and help restore it. I may have been overstating the case.
Sure, it’s your vacation buck, and you can spend it wherever and however you wish.
Notwithstanding that, we all give lip service to seeing the shore, which is one of our biggest economic drivers in the state, get back on its feet.
So why not make some sort of pledge to visit the shore and give it the much needed boost?
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and business owners in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged areas are hoping for a big summer. Homeowners and business owners in Shore towns have spent the past eight months since Sandy struck rebuilding and recovering.
The question is will it pay off? Going down the Shore and spending some money seems like the right thing to do, even if you’re not “Shore” people.
Yesterday a British royal visited Mantoloking, where all of the affluent town’s 521 homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy. “Prince Harry please come back when we’re restored,” read a sign among the rubble.
There was also a visit to the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where the governor and Prince Harry played some games of chance, handing over their spoils to children in attendance.
Not far away, and with much less fanfare, the now iconic JetStar roller coaster was being ripped, piece by piece, from the ocean.
Workers are racing to get Shore towns and attractions ready for the summer crush. After that all they need is people to visit.
Already communities are getting ready to cut “Grand Re-opening” ribbons:
Mayor Ed Johnson said…“We have a really nice ribbon cutting ceremony planned – a good old-fashioned, small town event,” adding dignitaries and the school band will take part in the 11 a.m. ceremony.
Johnson said the historic storm wiped out two large sections of the boardwalk – near 1st and 5th avenues – as well as smaller sections along the boardwalk, causing more than $3 million in damage to the boardwalk alone.
The city is about 95 percent recovered from the storm, Johnson said, as most of the businesses have reopened and are flourishing.
And boardwalk mainstays Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre – once slated for closure due to issues with a mandatory sprinkler system – have been granted a reprieve, which Johnson said is a huge relief to the city and its businesses.
Between work on the boardwalk being complete and the businesses reopening, Johnson said he believes that Asbury Park and its neighboring communities are about to have a successful summer tourism season.
“I really to have a great feeling that we are about to have one of the biggest summers on the Jersey Shore in recent memory,” said Johnson, adding he plans to visit Seaside after the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday. “But I hope that if people come to visit us that they also make it a point go to visit places like Long Branch, Belmar and Seaside, because we are all in this together.”
The way I see it, “restore the shore” isn’t just a nice saying.
It’s a commitment we all share to seeing our most iconic resource return to its pre-Sandy condition; hopefully better than it was before the devastation visited our shores.
It’s still hard for me to imagine places I’ve visited just a mere 8 or so months ago devastated to the point of not being able to be recognized. But I know that it will return like a phoenix rising from the ashes.