I’m a little ashamed to admit that I hadn’t been to Wildwood in probably 15 years until Thursday night, when I drove down the Parkway for one of The Press’ town-hall meetings with readers.

All I can say is, Wildwood, in its own way, is pretty darn impressive. Sure, the city has its problems. But the Convention Center, which opened in 2002, is modern, clean and lovely. And the city makes a great first impression. The streets are clean, with some nice pavers at some intersections (it’s amazing how pavers can dress up a place). And all the art-deco signs and design elements give the main drag a bright, cheerful ambience.

But most important: On a frigid night in February in a Jersey Shore town, the Convention Center parking lot was packed with cars and RVs because of the annual All Breed Dog Show hosted by the Boardwalk Kennel Club. The show draws lots of dog fans, show-dog owners, handlers, groomers, exhibitors etc.

And you know what I couldn’t help remembering?

When I was a kid, the Boardwalk Kennel Club held its show in Atlantic City.

Atlantic City’s loss is now Wildwood’s gain — and good for the Wildwood folks. They’re doing a lot right. They seem to have big, popular events running almost every weekend all year-round.

But the question is: If little old Wildwood — with a fraction of the attractions Atlantic City has — can do this, why can’t its big cousin to the north?

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