A year after Hurricane Sandy, Point Pleasant Beach is among several Shore communities that saw declines in beach revenue despite the multi-billion-dollar efforts to rebuild after the storm, a survey shows.In Point Beach, a decline in daily beach attendance was blamed largely on the extended school year in June. Point Beach also had a decline in rentals, which local officials say was probably due to mistaken assumptions about the Shore's status, according to the AP.
Across the Jersey Shore, the drop in the number of beachgoers is being blamed on a number of Sandy issues, according to the Associated Press survey. They include:
- Early decision-making by some beachgoers to book trips elsewhere during this season of rebuilding;
- Fewer available rental units
- Delayed beach openings;
- Changes in the school calendar to make up for storm days;.and
- Some resort towns say rain did them in.
Also, according to the AP survey:
- The Ortley Beach section of Toms River has shown a dramatic drop from last year's revenues. A third of its beach open, so the town is counting on $123,500 in beach revenue this year,. Last year, the town took in $700,000, administrator Paul Shives told the AP.
- In Manasquan, beach revenue - which includes parking fees - was down $290,000 through July 21, according to the Associated Press survey. Manasquan had some days when the town sold no beach badges at all, including the cold Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, according to the AP.
- Long Branch is still hoping to make up a $158,000 drop-off in revenues if the inclement weather subsides. Administrator Howard Woolley said when the weekends have been sunny, attendance has been even better than in previous years, even though the boardwalk is not expected to be completed until next year, according to the AP.
- Sea Girt's attendance is down overall despite a great Fourth of July weekend. But the decline has been partly offset by a small hike in daily beach fees from $9 to $10, said administrator Al Bunting told the AP.
- Spring Lake said its revenue was down more than $59,000, which it blamed on the wetter-than-usual start to the season.
- Bradley Beach also reported a small dip in revenue because of fewer sales of beach badges but said it still expects to match last year's numbers.
- Avon's total beach attendance and revenue was down more than $213,000. While parking in town is free, when beachgoers pack the area, people tend park in handicap or yellow zones, according to administrator Timothy Gallagher. With ample parking because of low attendance, money generated from those tickets is lost, Gallagher told the AP.