Lavallette officials this week said beach badge sales for the 2023 season are among the highest-ever, even after a few lackluster weather days that fell on weekends. Meanwhile, two years’ worth of grant funding is expected to cover the cost of Mobi-Mats at two beach entrances to make accessing the sand easier for residents with disabilities.
“We’re having a good summer,” said Councilman Michael Stogdill, who reported $889,000 in revenue having been generated already this season. “The last three years have been great and we’re right in that neighborhood. We’re able to meet expenses, and that is the major concern.”
Like most municipalities, Lavallette has had to raise salaries of beach staff in recent years, plus fund increased insurance premiums and perform maintenance on its lifeguard headquarters.
“Opening weekend” for swimming, which occurred June 17, produced $52,000 in revenue, and badge sales were up to $18,000 this past Sunday after iffy weather kept things slow on Saturday.
Officials have also received a grant to place Mobi-Mats – a fabric-based hard surface mat that is installed over the sand at beach entrances to make walking on them easier – at on one street, and another is expected to come through over the next few weeks.
Council President Anita Zalom spearheaded the grants. One of the grants was received last summer, however the funding did not cover the installation. A borough employee has since undergone training in how to install the mat, and it will be located at the President Avenue beach soon.
The next “mat grant” will include the installation cost, with the mat being planned for New York Avenue.
“I’ve been given the unofficial word, but we need to wait for the official word” on the grant approval for New York Avenue, Zalom said.
President and New York avenues were chosen because they are two of the widest streets in town, making them more accessible for handicap-outfitted vehicles. The mats will be sand-colored, white and brown, like those that have been installed in neighboring Ortley Beach.