Wildwoods ready for summer after Sandy

The Wildwoods

May 15, 2013 2:40:50 PM PDT
The beaches of Wildwood, New Jersey escaped serious damage during Hurricane Sandy, but businesses are still working hard to get beach goers to return.

During Sandy, Jim Barnabei's North End American Grill sustained heavy flooding, which damaged the refrigeration and electrical systems.

"The basement was full and we actually had about six to eight inches that came up into the kitchen and restaurant," said Barnabei.

But, last month, his restaurant was able to reopen. His isn't the only business owner in the Wildwoods who is considering himself lucky.

"The Wildwoods are really ready. We had a couple of damaged businesses, a couple of damaged homes, but primarily the big infrastructure - the beach and the boardwalk - came through Sandy fine," said North Wildwood Council President Patrick Rosenello.

Still, John Siciliano, Executive Director of the Wildwoods Tourism Authority, is concerned.

He says beach destinations outside of New Jersey have mounted aggressive advertising campaigns to attract visitors who might've been scared off by the storm.

"Everybody vies for the same tourism dollar, but this is the third largest industry in New Jersey. We want to keep it viable, keep it healthy," said Siciliano.

Not only are the Wildwoods' traditional highlights - including the Boardwalk, free beaches, night-time concerts and Friday night fireworks - all back for another year, there are new attractions as well.

Final work is under way on a $1.9 million addition to the Splash Zone water park. Called "The Flow House," it will feature a surf pool, music and entertainment.

At Morey's Pier, the "Zoom Floom" has been renovated. Plus, close to a dozen new restaurants are opening.

"So there are a lot of new things happening," said Rosenello.

For more information on what's happening in the Wildwoods, visit WildwoodsNJ.com.