By WIL FULTON
With two weekends down, Sea Bright officials are beginning to get an idea of what the first post-Sandy summer on the shore could look like, and it may not be great.
But even though the number of beach visitors is sharply down, Councilman Read Murphy told redbankgreen that he and other borough officials are optimistic things will pick up soon.
Attendance over Memorial Day weekend was way, way off, Murphy said. But I think that was a combination of the poor weather we experienced and the fact that people may not have known what to expect when they came down here.
According to Murphy, the borough sold approximately 600 seasonal beach badges, at $100 apiece, before the summer began. By this time a year ago, about 1,700 had been sold.
The numbers of badges we sold before the season is obviously way down, but it is starting to pick up now Id say we got about 80 or 90 new badge sales over the past week, he said.
Another concern that Murphy said probably affected the turnout was parking availability. The hurricane and it’s aftermath reduced the number of parking spaces by about 33 percent, with around 600 spaces now available.
Most of the [municipal] lot was wiped out, he said, and we are not going to be able to reach the numbers we had in the past. But were going to get creative and try to to get as many autos in as we can as the summer moves on.
Looking forward, Murphy said the potential is there to reach numbers close to Sea Brights average despite the numerous hurdles beachgoers and the town need to clear. Amenities are few, with no snack stand near the beach, meaning visitors could face long walks to get cold drinks and sandwiches.
I think we have the potential to get back,” Murphy said. “As long as the weather is good well draw crowds.
Ive heard from a lot of people that have seen us on TV or in the newspaper and have come out to support us because they know times are tough for Sea Bright,” he said. “But, on the other hand, weve had people who didnt want badges this year because of they dont know what were going to get, so it goes both ways, he added.
But our beaches are here, they are back open and ready.