BELMAR, NJ — Working together for a “better Belmar” dominated discussion among the nearly 100 business owners and borough officials attending the Belmar Business Partnership’s annual meeting.
Newly elected Mayor Mark Walsifer took center stage at the February 26 event, held at La Dolce Vita on Ocean Avenue, as he offered an overview of the various initiatives under way to foster collaboration between the business community and the borough.
“The business community has been on my mind,” he told the gathering. “It is a big part of our town.”
Walsifer said that by selecting Frank Cinelli to fill the new position of director of special operations, he hopes to improve communication between the borough’s tourism department and BBP. “I’ve never understood why tourism (department) and the BBP have never worked together. Tourism helps business, and we have to work together.”
Efforts to bring more business to Belmar businesses include the venue change for this year’s New Jersey Seafood Festival from the beachfront to the downtown district. The move is aimed at giving the borough’s year-round merchants — stores, restaurants, bars and other retail establishments — an early boost for the summer season, as well as alleviate parking and traffic congestion caused by the annual festival, which will be held on May 17, 18 and 19.
Walsifer also talked about the BBP’s newest event — the first-ever Belmar Boat Show, to be held in the Belmar Manutti Marina on April 13 and 14. Since the Marina Grille opened at the marina two years ago, boat slip rentals at the marina have declined, primarily due to the lack of parking.
The mayor sees the boat show as a way to showcase the state-of-the-art marina’s many amenities and reinforce its reputation as one of the premier facilities of its kind in this region — for boating and fishing enthusiasts.
Walisfer also talked about the borough plans to integrate all Belmar-related websites, including BBP's site, to provide visitors with a one-stop hub to access borough services, businesses, events and other functions.
In addition, information on individuals purchasing beach badges is being collected on line and will soon be used as an important marketing tool available to businesses.
During the meeting, BBP President Sal Marchese also announced the establishment of the Belmar Shines program, designed to highlight businesses that improve their aesthetic appeal to create lasting impressions with customers. The program, which launches this spring, is being spearheaded by the organization committee led by BBP member Thomas Burke.
Marchese also reiterated the volunteer group’s ongoing recruitment of business owners and others to serve on its committees and to assist in its various projects, including maintaining the business district's flower planters, distributing materials to businesses and assisting with events.
And in an announcement that drew applause, Marchese said that the BBP will not be seeking an increase in its $138,000 annual budget for 2019.
Created by Belmar to manage its Special Improvement District, BBP is the nonprofit district management corporation whose mission is to foster the economic development and revitalization of the Belmar business district through private/public partnerships.
Its operations are primarily funded through an assessment on all commercial properties in Belmar, along with some sponsorship and other additional income sources.
For more information about BBP, visit its website or call 732 894-9022.
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