Sea Isle City may add a welcome center along its main entranceway with hopes it could cater to a year-round flow of visitors looking for information on summer events or even what restaurants are open in the off-season.
The concept of a welcome center for drivers heading into the city has been discussed for years, Mayor Leonard Desiderio said. A proposal last year to place one inside the city’s Community Lodge drew concerns that it would displace activities in the building, he said.
The latest proposal is to build an addition to the Community Lodge on John F. Kennedy Boulevard that would house the welcome center.
Desiderio said current city employees or volunteers could staff the welcome center in the summer and part time in the fall, spring and winter.
“Sea Isle City — like many shore communities — we’re expanding our season by having these fall events and looking to expand our season by adding some spring events,” he said. “So we need someone there to answer questions and give out info.”
Desiderio said the center could help address questions from visitors heading into Sea Isle City during the off-season looking to buy or rent for the following year.
It could also be used to promote events like the city’s Irish Festival and Columbus Day Parade, or planned spring events, such as a proposal from a group of business people in Fish Alley, a historic area along the bay, to hold a spring festival before Memorial Day, he said.
Currently, the city has a small information office on the beachfront Promenade.
“In a tourist-driven community, where tourism is our number one industry, it’s very important we have a center,” he said.
City Council is scheduled to discuss the prospect of a welcome center at a meeting next week and then during a workshop meeting on Oct. 26 to discuss the city’s future capital plans, City Administrator George Savastano said.
The capital plan meeting will also discuss other proposed projects, like dredging lagoons, reconstructing roads, building a new boat ramp and replacing a sewer line on Central Avenue prone to creating sinkholes, Savastano said.