VENTNOR – The city will be seeking qualified vendors to rent kayaks and paddleboards at Ski Beach this summer and is considering an advertising program that would allow local businesses to advertise on lifeboats and possibly on lifeguard stands.

During a discussion at their Thursday, April 25 meeting Mayor Beth Holtzman and Commissioner Lance Landgraf discussed the revenue-generating advertising idea but decided to wait until the next meeting when Commissioner Tim Kriebel, who was absent, can weigh in on the issue.

According to Commissioner Lance Landgraf, the Board of Commissioners’ Ad Hoc Advisory Committee suggested the signage sponsorship program to generate revenue and promote local businesses. The group also suggested kayak and paddleboard rentals at Ski Beach, he said.

The ad hoc committee is comprised of full- and part-time residents who meet monthly with one of the commissioners to generate ideas and provide input on issues. The group previously suggested and the commissioners agreed to raising the ice cream vending license fees to $500 annually from $50.

A concession, similar to what Stacey’s Surf & Paddle offers on Amherst Avenue in Margate, would be put out for bids and a contract awarded to rent kayaks and paddleboards at Ski Beach, which is an underutilized recreation area, officials said.

The commissioners passed a resolution approving requests for bids from qualified vendors, but they were less committed to advertising on the beach and boardwalk.

“I don’t have an issue with it on the back of the lifeguard boats, but I’m not sure if I want them on the back of the lifeguard stands,” Landgraf said.

“I don’t want things to look too junky,” Holtzman said.

Advertising on the boardwalk would also not be appropriate because it runs along a residential area, Landgraf said.

With banner planes flying by and advertising boats traveling near the shoreline, “People need to unplug,” Holtzman said, and don’t need to see a lot of advertising when they are trying to unwind on the beach.

Instead, the mayor suggested painting an easily identifiable image, such as a fish, apple, whale or color on the back of the lifeguard stands for childhood safety, so that if a small child gets lost, he or she would be able to tell others which beach they were visiting.

When a child strays on the beach, they sometimes wind up 10 blocks away, Holtzman said.

“Something a parent can point out to a child that a child can understand,” she said. “To me that’s something that can help find a child quicker. If it’s 10 minutes, to a parent it can feel like a lifetime. I thought it could be something a small child can relate to and the parent tells them they are on the apple beach, so if a child gets lost they can say, ‘I’m on the apple beach.”

Landgraf also suggested the city might accept sponsorships to help refurbish three pavilions located along the boardwalk that are in “rough” shape, he said.

“Each pavilion could be reconstructed and have a (contributor’s)  name on it,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m in favor of a whole lot of signage on the boardwalk.”

One resident who spoke in favor of the children’s mark, suggested the city conduct a contest in various neighborhoods to help them decide what color or image to use.

The city could also install banners along commercial district, Administrator Maria Mento said.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.