WILDWOOD — Recreational vehicles are unlikely to make an appearance on the city’s beaches this summer, but that doesn’t mean Wildwood isn’t adding other beach amenities designed to turn the city’s ever-growing free beach into a money maker.
For instance, staff members from Ocean Innovations were setting up water cannons for oceanfront water battles Thursday on the beach at Rio Grande Avenue here, giving beachgoers another activity to try.
This attraction comes after the development of a beach improvement and management plan, which includes adding everything from regular music festivals to zip lines and cabanas.
A plan to permit RVs to camp on the beach for $150 a day met with opposition from the neighboring Ocean Towers Condominium Association, and Cape May County Health Department Director Kevin Thomas also questioned the plan, saying the city needs approvals for sewer hookups and other amenities common at RV parks.
But while no RVs have yet to park on the city’s beach, and the stakes marking the camping sites have been removed, Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said the plan to allow the vehicles to park on the beach has not been abandoned, and he added that he’s been in touch with the county about the matter.
“It’s not dead, and if anybody thinks that, they’re mistaken,” Troiano said. “The RV plan is still part of the whole master plan of the beach.”
Meanwhile, Ocean Innovations was setting up the water battle game to take advantage of the Labor Day holiday weekend. Players can pay $5 per battle to shoot the cannons at each other.
“It’s about time we did something with our beach. It’s growing. Why not make a playland out of it?” Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said Thursday.
Ocean Innovations — permitted to operate the game from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Sept. 16 — paid the city $807 for a mercantile license and then will pay the city 7 percent of any gross revenues from the water battle game, according to their contract.
The money is a small part of what the mayor hopes will be the start of recurring revenues from this and other activities to support future city budgets.
A major component of that revenue plan is the $1.6 million lease of the former monster truck building and adjacent beach for use in a series of music festivals planned over the next 10 years by Eastern Exchange, a company with addresses in North Wildwood and Haddonfield.
The firm is set to host two music festivals a year for 10 years here. “These are mega-weekend concerts over three days,” Troiano said.
He said representatives of the Hangout Music Fest, a three-day concert held on the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., have looked at Wildwood’s beach along with others, such as Kenny Chesney, who is considering returning to the city following his successful summer concert here.
“The Chesney concert proved we can do and have a facility that is special,” Troiano said.
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