Wildwood, long one of New Jersey's most popular beaches in part because it's free, will remain that way.

Wildwood Beach (Flickr User Belzie)

City commissioners have rescinded a ballot question that would have asked voters whether Wildwood should start charging a beach fee, an idea opposed by businesses.

Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said Thursday that the city will instead start talks with Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood on the possibility of sharing services, including fire and police, lifeguarding and beach maintenance.

"We are excited and thrilled to be collaborating with the other municipalities on this solution," Troiano said.

Wildwood is one of only a handful of Jersey Shore towns that don't make visitors buy beach tags for the right to go on the sand and swim in the ocean. The others include its neighbors on either side, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood, which had no plans to start charging beach fees.

Wildwood voters had twice before rejected the idea of beach tags, in 1976 and 1981.

The city routinely ranks at or near the top of New Jersey's most popular beaches in an annual contest in which people vote for their favorite shore spot. One of the main reasons is the city's famously wide beaches do not charge for access.

Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood market themselves as a single entity called The Wildwoods. Wildwood and North Wildwood share a nearly two-mile boardwalk.

The beaches here are a half-mile from the boardwalk in many spots. Due to the prevailing ocean currents and the natural topography of the coastline, sand that washes away from other beaches piles up here.

The three-town resort claims to have the largest concentration of preserved 1950s doo-wop architecture in the country.

 

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