By Robin Rieger
SEA ISLE, NJ (CBS) – With all of the coverage of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation along the Jersey Shore, Cape May County tourism and local officials like Sea Isle mayor Len Desiderio want to change what they fear is the perception that every New Jersey beach town has been devastated.
“We’re ready for the summer of 2013,” Desiderio says.
Sea Isle – with its beaches, promenade and most businesses intact – will hold what it says is the state’s largest ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 15th to kick off the season a little early. If you typically visited northern New Jersey beaches, officials invite you to head further south for a fun-filled Polar Bear Plunge weekend and months later, a summer to remember.
“Once you come to Sea Isle City and Cape May County, I don’t think you’re going to want to go anywhere else,” Mayor Desiderio says.
Calls for shore rentals in southern New Jersey like Brigantine are already on the increase, says realtor Colleen Bell.
It’s good for realtors and summer landlords, but not great for some displaced homeowners, like Sean O’Neill. His family is renting a vacant summer rental until his damaged Brigantine house is finished.
“We have to be out of the property by May 1st, and we’re actually in the process of finding another place to live right now. My wife worries about it; she worries about it every day,” O’Neill admits.
Bell says what O’Neill and others like him are up against are the regular summer vacationers to Brigantine and new visitors willing to pay a premium for weekly rentals where businesses are still up and running.