ASBURY PARK - This Monmouth County city is expected to finalize this week a five-year contract to bring pedal boats back to Wesley Lake this summer.
The once-popular U-Pedal boats and large swan boats of past years were gone by the 1970s, but partners Linda Occhipinti and Joseph Gambarony are starting up the pedal boat rides, with seating of up to four per watercraft.
The City Council gave its approval to the concession and will receive $600 in the first year, when Occhipinti and Gambarony are investing to buy the boats and build a small dock at Lake Avenue near Heck Street. The amount to go to the city in subsequent years is being negotiated but will be settled this week, Occhipinti said.
She said that while she and Gambarony expect to begin offering rides on weekends by mid-May, the grand opening will be Memorial Day weekend, with summer hours now planned for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
There will be seven to eight boats in the shape of white and black swans, dragons and pelicans, with one regular boat to be used by an employee to ensure the safety of riders.
The cost for half-hour rides will be $18 for two riders, $20 for three and $22 for four. Discounted rates will be marketed for groups of children and senior citizens.
"We visited Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and upon riding on their pedal boats, we came across an old postcard at least 60 years ago that showed Asbury Park had the boats," Occhipinti said. "We said, ‘Wouldn't that be great to bring something back they had then.'"
Gambarony, who lives in Brick, Ocean County, is in hotel management, and Occhipinti, who lives in Toms River, Ocean County, has been a financial controller.
An AP member exchange report.