THE WORST IS OVER
Knock on wood, the worst weather that winter has to offer has already been served up. The daylight hours are longer now and the smell of spring is in the air. Even a few daffodils are popping up.
Winter did get off to a horrendous start here in Cape May County. The average temperature in both December and January was about six degrees below normal. Brrrr! After getting hit with 17 inches of snow the day after Christmas, the future looked bleak. Surprisingly, that was it. The next six snow-storms basically started as rain and left a one or two inch crust of snow near the end of the precipitation.
So now our thoughts turn to the forsythias blooming their yellow flowers, the spring peepers singing in harmony, the grass starting to green up, and baseballs and golf balls in flight. Can Memorial Day be that far away?
WEST WILDWOOD RECALL
Let's keep this short. The January 11th recall election saw the borough's electorate vote 164 to 156 to not recall commissioner Scott Golden. If that vote had gone the other way, Golden would still have kept his seat by virtue of a 161 to 156 tally over challenger Louis Sottnick.
Now maybe voters will get a little peace before the 2012 election, when all three commissioner seats come up and the civil war continues.
SENIOR EXPLOSION COMING
Of Cape May County's 97,127 year-round residents, 20,346 are senior citizens ages 65 and older. That's nearly 21 percent. While that was a 2% decline since 2000, local municipalities such as North Wildwood, with 31% seniors, West Wildwood with 29%, and Wildwood Crest with 27% bucked the trend. Leading the figures was Cape May Point at 67% and Stone Harbor with 40%. The imminent aging of the baby boomers will now increase those numbers. The median age of Cape May County residents is 46.3 years old. Just a decade ago, the median age was 42.3, a difference of four years.
We're getting older. Once invincible baby boomers with flowers in our hair and a full life ahead of us, the reality is that now we are on the slippery slope to becoming senior citizens. What happened?
ERMA TRAFFIC PATTERNS
For decades, Lower Township officials have touted eliminating two cross streets that connect Seashore Road to Route 9, while adding two more that will offer safer passage. It looks like that day has finally come.
A $10 million project will commence soon to eliminate Sally Marshall's Crossing, located near the old Wawa, and Bennett's Crossing, which is just north of Lower Cape May Regional High School. Both roads are only about 200 feet long and bisected by railroad tracks. That leaves waiting cars in peril to railroad trains and sticking out into Seashore Road traffic.
The two new intersections will be located at Tabernacle Road, about a quarter mile north of Bennett's Crossing, and Breakwater Road, about a half mile south of Sally Marshall. Both roads carry a lot of vehicles from North Cape May and Villas trying to get to Route 9. The new intersections make that task easier, plus they have longer connectors, hopefully giving cars the ability to get completely out of the Seashore Road intersections.
OCEAN CITY BEACH TAGS
Ocean City has raised the price of beach tags. Despite earning $3.4 million last year from the sale of 125,000 seasonal tags. 59,000 weekly tags, and 173,000 daily tags, the city wants more to close its budget gap. Seasonal passes will now cost $20, up from the previous $15.
ATLANTIC CITY FACELIFT
It's been busy winter for Atlantic City. And it's all good, not only for AC but the entire South Jersey region.
In January, Governor Christie created a Tourism District in AC, with the goal of helping the city realize its goal of being a tourist destination. The edict included improving infrastructure, public safety, and marketing. He also shifted oversight of the casinos from one state agency to another, disbanded the former, and cleaned house of the leadership.
Three casinos got more good news. Resorts sold for $31.5 million on December 6th. The owners had defaulted on a $360 million mortgage, showing just how much the market has dropped. Under the new leadership of Dennis Gomes, the oldest casino in the US outside Nevada will take on a Roaring 20s theme.
Trump Marina was bought for an equally bargain price of $38 million. The purchaser will be doing $150 million in renovations and rebranding the casino as the Golden Nugget, the name of Landry, Inc's other casino in Las Vegas.
Finally, thanks in part to the new confidence in Atlantic City via the state's taking oversight of operations, the half-completed Revel casino received a $1.15 billion loan to finish construction. That will put 2,000 tradesmen to work immediately, and create 5,500 jobs once the Revel is open to the public.
Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of opening our Wildwood Crest real estate office, Jewell Real Estate Agency acquired the property next door and has expanded operations.
The old building, at 5602 New Jersey Avenue, will act as the administrative center, with Broker/Owner's Joyce and Douglas Jewell and their secretaries staying put in familiar surrounds. There's no place like home.
Next door at 5606 New Jersey Avenue, the JREA sales staff, rental department, and cleaning company will be based. The new property is 100' x 60', with eight off-street parking spots and a 3,800 square foot building. Added to our 50' x 60' property, that gives JREA 150-feet of frontage on busy New Jersey Avenue, the commercial hub of the island.
JREA also acquired Gallagher Real Estate, completing the expansion and hitting the ground running. Besides our main phone number of 609-729-8505, we also have Gallagher's former 522-5757. Eight Gallagher agents have joined JREA.
JOYCE JEWELL RECOVERING
In case you hadn't heard, Joyce broke her hip Christmas morning. She broke it attempting to locate and feed some homeless people. She's back to work now and cheerful as ever. Little episodes like this help us appreciate what we have - our health!
OUR CLEANING SERVICE
We have found that the most difficult facet of renting units in the summer season here at the shore is finding a reliable company to get the cleaning done between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays. That window of opportunity - between check-outs and check-ins, is inflexible. It's gotta get done.
We have started Timber Lane Cleaning Service to fill that important role. We have a good, experienced staff on board and will continue to hire more to ensure quality, fast, dependable service. Give us a call if you'd like to learn more about Timber Lane Cleaning Service.
JEWELL REAL ESTATE AGENCY
We love to talk about real estate and our island. We're always glad to share our insights, observations, and vision with you.
Stop by our office at 5602 New Jersey Avenue and chat. Or give Joyce or Douglas a call at 609-729-8505. We answer phones 6am to 9pm EVERYDAY and you always get a real, live person. That's service!