WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Wildwood leaders, businesses and residents are preparing to welcome President Donald Trump later this month. They have a message for the thousands of visitors who are coming to town for the presidential visit.
From cleaning bedding to taking reservations, there’s a flurry of activity happening at many Wildwood motels and hotels, like the Bolero Resort.
It’s all because President Trump is coming to town.
“So it’s been really, really hectic. Obviously, this time of year, we’re not equipped for this so we are bringing in staff,” said Bolero Resort owner Michael Lerro.
Like many shore towns, Wildwood is pretty empty during the week in the winter, but President Trump’s announcement of a Tuesday evening rally on Jan. 28 at the Wildwoods Convention Center has businesses and city officials racing to get ready.
“So I think you’ve got people now that realize we’re going to have 30,000 or 40,000 people here in a couple weeks at a time that is traditionally a very slow time of the season,” Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron said.
Byron has been meeting with safety and public work staff daily for President Trump’s visit. Schools will be closed that day.
Questions about traffic, crowd control and security restrictions are still being hashed out. Next week, the Secret Service will review those plans.
This will be the first time a sitting president will visit Cape May County since the 1800s.
The Keep America Great rally is meant to give a boost to former Democrat-turned-Republican Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who voted against impeaching Trump.
But the real boost for Wildwood and surrounding towns is an economic one — people eating, staying and even shopping at a time when business is practically dead.
“You know what, check your party affiliation at the door. This should not be about what party you belong to. Let’s just embrace this historically monumental opportunity that we have and it’s going to put Wildwood on a national map,” Byron said.
While the Wildwoods Convention Center only holds about 7,000 people, city officials say more than 25,000 have tickets for the rally.
Overflow plans are still in consideration, and as far as the city’s extra expenses from the rally, Byron plans to hand the Cape May County Republican Party the bill.