Dan Smith (right) with family, Nora, 3, Daniel, 6, Carter, 4 months and wife Dana at their Ventnor Heights home, is organizing a meeting March 16 to show local residents ways to attach young families to settle in the area. It's part of an attempt to revitalize a stretch of commercial activity near the Dorset Avenue bridge.

Ben Fogletto

Dan Smith and his wife, Dana, don't like to brag, but they admit many of their friends are jealous of where they live.

"It's a family community and it's a beach town. You can't get much better than that," said Dan Smith of Ventnor Heights. "I have tons of friends who went to EHT, Galloway, and now they are kicking themselves wishing they moved here."

When the Smiths began looking to buy a home to raise a family in 2009, their main priorities were finding a good school district and being in walking distance of the beach. They found that combination in Ventnor Heights, they said.

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They are not the only ones promoting the area.

Farley and Ferry Realty will host a presentation for the community March 16 on "promoting the value in Ventnor Heights."

Mary Lou Ferry, owner of the real estate agency, said the purpose is to showcase Ventnor Heights as a primary market for young families, such as the Smiths.

In comparison to Ventnor's mainland, homes in the Heights are typically smaller and less expensive, and attract more year-round residents.

"The price points are very affordable. It's community oriented, you're close to the boathouse and the ballfields and you can still walk to the beach," Ferry said.

There also has been a recent focus on enhancing North Dorset Avenue, Ferry said, referring to it as "the gateway into Ventnor."

Ventnor Heights resident Paula DeLuca agreed, adding that in the 1990s, small businesses were scattered along the block but in the past few years, she has seen signs of the cohesive downtown scene returning. She noted the popularity of Ventnor Coffee and longtime Dorset Avenue businesses Annette's restaurant and Custard's Last Stand.

"Back then, residents were drawn from their homes to shop, have fun and socialize. There was a hardware store, clothing shops," DeLuca said. "Finally, we're getting that back."

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If you go

What: Value In Ventnor Heights presentation

Where: VFW Post 3361,

601 N. Dorset Ave., Ventnor

When: 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, March 16

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