Memorial Day is just around the corner and Belmar wants Garden State residents to know that they are open and ready for the summer season.

The beach officially opens to the public on Friday, May 25th, with lifeguards manning their posts from 10 am to 6pm daily through Labor Day weekend.

To celebrate the start of the summer beach season, Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty was joined by Congressman Frank Pallone and several Monmouth County Freeholders as well as the Mike Ryan, mayor of their neighbor city Lake Como, Janet Clark from NJ Transit, and the Executive Director of NJ Travel and Tourism Grace Hanlon.

Mayor Doherty says even though many of the legislators might be opposed politically, they understand what the shore means for tourism in the county.

“It doesn’t matter Democrat or Republican we know how important it is to promote Belmar as family

beach throughout Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore as a tourism destination.” Said Doherty.

The mayor adds there are a lot of improvements made by the beach town this year to appeal to families as the premiere summer destination.

One of the main improvements is the addition of more Mobi Mats which allow people those with disabilities, in wheelchairs, or in crutches to access the water line. Doherty notes not only does this make them even more Americans With Disabilities Act friendly, it is useful for visitors who might not necessarily have transportation or mobility issues.

“As helpful as they [ADA mats and ramps] are to folks with limited mobility, the people we see using them the most are parents with strollers or wagons or whatever you need to carry out things for your children.”

All 1.3 miles of Belmar’s boardwalk has been replaced with Trex composite material, which Doherty says is a plastic and won’t splinter or rot while remaining easy to clean and repair.

The Borough also increased police coverage, adding 25 newly trained officers and two new police vehicles.

Additionally, the Borough’s bathrooms will be getting a revamping. In addition to aesthetic improvements from fresh coats of paint, changes to the cleaning and maintenance are being enacted which will include: power washing with 180 degree water, bathroom attendants being stationed inside many facilities, odor control systems; as well electric flush systems.

There will also be more playgrounds for families to use as well as a new mini golf course being built in the marina on route 35.

Hanlon says the Jersey Shore is now more than ever a hot destination for summer travelers. She notes in 2011, there was a 14 percent increase in tourism at the Jersey Shore.

“In 2011, we had an increase of 12 million visitors; we went 68 million to 80 million. When they asked me what I thought of that number I almost fell off my chair because I was talking to other state directors who were looking at one percent or two percent increases.”

In the past Belmar has also given free beach access to all active duty military members and their families, this year the Borough is also including Monmouth County Volunteer First Aid and Fire Department members.

Beach badges for the year are $50, with daily passes costing $7. Belmar is also partnering with NJ transit in order to create packages for families to bundle beach badges and transportation. They are also partnering with the New Jersey DOT to allow NY and NJ residents to dial 511 from their phone to receive local traffic conditions.