Holiday Weekend a Winner

By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI

The holiday weekend, started with sunshine and crowds but fizzled out by Monday, Labor Day as heavy rain hit the area.

However, beach revenues in Asbury Park were still over $100,000 for the weekend, close to last year’s, $110,000.

Beach Utilities Manager Gary Giberson said he is pleased with the overall beach season and will release end of the season totals next week.

Giberson said ocean waters were rough over the weekend with yellow flags out Sunday, cautioning bathers.

“The life guards were kept busy, we had quite a few rescues,” he said, adding there were no injuries or incidents, however.

“Everybody had a great weekend,” he said.

Giberson said the weekend of the Jonas Brothers’ concert brought crowds, helping boardwalk retail. Overall, he said,  the 2019 summer season in the city was a winner.

“I think we had a great season, there were crowds on the beach and boardwalk,” he said.

Giberson also said beaches will be open this Sept. 7 and 8  with badge checkers and lifeguards.

But with Dorian heading up the east coast and predictions  to hit the Jersey Shore on Friday, beach conditions could be affected.

Also in the city, parking revenues increased by 15 percent according to Director of Transportation, Michael Manzella.

The summer of 2018 brought in about $2.6 million while 2019 in June, July and August added about $3 million to the parking utility budget.

Manzella said he believed the Pay by Plate meter program started in the spring increase compliance.

“People were more compliant instead of risking a ticket,” he said.

Manzella also said that although no new spaces or meters were added, the city got back several parking spaces due to the completion of the Asbury Ocean Club on Ocean Avenue.

Several spots in front of the Fifth Avenue Pavilion were being used during construction.

Manzella said the parking committee would be meeting soon and will discuss any increase in meters. Main Street, however, will be safe until the final paving which right now is estimated to be at the end of 2020.

Manzella said the final portion of Main Street, north of Asbury Avenue is due to be completed in the coming months.

The rest of Main Street repaving will not begin for a while but the gas company will be coming to town in two weeks to begin installing new gas mains and traffic signals.

Manzella said the new scooter rental program was very successful in its first year, but the valet parking program was not.

“We will be reassessing the valet parking. There was not as much demand as we thought there would be,” he said.

Manzella also said six proposals for the design of a new parking garage proposed  at the municipal complex are being evaluated.

He said he hopes the council will be able to award a contract for the design of the project at the Sept. 25 council meeting.

In Ocean Grove Beach Office Manager Heather Kleinle said this summer has had wonderful beach weather, with only three days without step guards at the beach entrances.

Last summer 11 out of 14 weekends had at least one rainy day, she said.  There were 110,000 transactions at the beach this year.

The 74-member beach staff includes step guards, beach office staff, and beach cleaners.

Statistics include 164,000 beach visitors, 4,369 preventative actions, 27 rip current rescues, 58 other rescues, 47 beach first aid instances, 22 missing kids found, 9 ambulance calls, and 12 rip current rescues.

David Jenkins, Chair of the Ocean Grove Beach Foundation, said the foundation, in tandem with the Ladies Auxiliary, bought a new flagpole for the boardwalk pavilion, replacing the pole that was lost by superstorm Sandy.

They also landscaped the area behind the beach office and painted the exterior of the pavilion.

Additionally, three new showers were installed, with another two to be purchased and installed, so that every beach entry will have a shower, he said.

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