BY ANTHONY RUSSO, PRESIDENT, CIANJ
BRUCE Springsteen and his family live on the Jersey Shore in Monmouth County—he was born in Long Branch at Monmouth Medical Center; was raised in Freehold; started his music career is bars in Asbury Park; married wife Patti Scialfa who comes from the seaside town of Deal; and produced the rock anthem “4th of July, Asbury Park.” It’s hard to find anyone with better Jersey Shore credentials than “The Boss.”
The Jersey Shore is the backbone of the Garden State’s $45 billion tourism economy—in fact, the counties of Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May attracted more than $21 billion of tourism spending during 2018, according to a Tourism Economics study released earlier this year by the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism.
One of this month’s big events (July 27) on the Jersey Shore is the “Rock the River” benefit in Toms River, sponsored by the Little by Little Foundation with local coffee shop, Bubby’s Beanery. Headlined by “American Idol” winner and top-selling recording artist David Cook, the concert is a fundraiser to help children with brain cancer and their families.
In addition to this special event, the business community in Toms River is active and growing, says Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Karen Hershey, Esq., who is seeing the changes with her own eyes and among the chamber’s member businesses.
“Redevelopment plans are in the works to make the Toms River waterfront a commercial district with condominiums and businesses, including a brewery and a distillery,” says Hershey. “The Ocean County Mall is being redesigned and modernized. As a message of inclusion and a business opportunity, downtown Toms River is hosting a gay pride day where merchants can showcase their local businesses.”
The Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce, a CIANJ member partner, is also innovating to help local businesses, adds Hershey. “From entrepreneurship seminars to evening networking events to annual college scholarships for local students, our chamber is playing an important role in connecting the community and its local businesses.”
For Jersey Shore communities such as Toms River, the value of their location is tied to New Jersey’s water quality and monitoring.
During a recent event sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, New Jersey Department of Environ- mental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe provided an overview of the state’s leading- edge water quality beach monitoring.
“Each one of us takes great pride in the Jersey Shore, which is so integral to our identity as a state,” explains Commissioner McCabe. “Governor Murphy and I are committed to ensuring that residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable time this season.”
To safeguard water quality and public health, the NJDEP coordinates the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program, a joint state and local partnership that tests water quality at nearly 188 ocean beaches and 20 bay and river beaches across the state throughout the season. Funding for the state’s coastal monitoring program comes from the USEPA, as well as a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the “Shore to Please” motor-vehicle license plates.
In addition to the shore itself, the Jersey Shore offers many interesting and entertaining attractions—some famous and others, lesser known or hidden gems. This month’s cover story, “The Jersey Shore is Open for Business and Vacations” (page 32) reveals some of the great activities and recreation spots that the locals love, and visitors discover when they ask where to have a great time with family and friends. Boating, surfing, fishing, eating, going to music concerts and site-seeing are just a few of the options.
Whether it’s for business or on vacation, you can find fun and entertainment at New Jersey’s wonderful natural resource—the Jersey Shore.