Wildwood officials deserve praise for trying to come up with new ways that the city's ever-widening beach can be used to enhance both revenue and fun. Why not turn this anomaly - most South Jersey beaches are eroding - into more of an asset?
Cabana rentals, fire pits, outdoor movies, beach bars, a fitness beach ... these all sound like a good time. And if the city can raise some revenue while using its mammoth beach for some nontraditional activities, that's great.
We even think that the most controversial of these proposals - allowing up to 80 recreational vehicles to park directly on the beach - has merit. Sure sounds like fun for the RV owners - imagine, the beach, ocean and Boardwalk right outside your door. And the state Department of Environmental Protection reportedly has no objections, assuming any spills from the self-contained RVs are cleaned up.
But having said all that, we also have some sympathy for the condo owners in the 10-story, 176-unit Wildwood Ocean Towers on the Boardwalk. A group of Ocean Towers owners objects to the RV proposal on several grounds - potential environmental problems from oil drips and human waste, traffic problems with the RVs entering and leaving the beach via Cresse Avenue where the building is located, and a possible decline in their property values.
We suspect their main problem is they don't want to look out their windows and see an RV park. They bought an ocean view - not a view of a campground. We can understand how this RV plan might rankle them. And the city's decision to give the group a hard time about a protest planned for Saturday - including a requirement for a $1 million insurance policy - just added insult to presumed injury.
But the city already has moved the RV parking site several blocks to the north to accommodate Ocean Towers' residents. The RVs will not be directly outside their windows - and, well, bottom line: This idea seems worth a try to us.
RVs don't come cheap these days. There's no reason to think the parking area on the beach will devolve into some seedy, low-rent shanty town. The RV parking area will be professionally run by an outside contractor. And as Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. has said, if the RV park doesn't work, it can be easily eliminated.