Shore Town Wants Best Bathrooms Designation
If someone were to ask you what's the scariest place to visit at any New Jersey beach? Hands down, most people would say it's the bathrooms. However, the Borough of Belmar is paying attention to these little details in making it a favorite family destination.
Belmar launched efforts this year to make a visitor's bathroom experience more like going to a five-star hotel.
Mayor Matt Dougherty says he has a young family himself "and the one thing I know is important to parents is to be able to go somewhere and have their children comfortable going to a bathroom at the beach."
Doughtery says during his first year as Mayor last year, he noticed the cleanliness of the bathrooms was not up to the standards that he wanted for families who were coming to the beach. So he says he laid out very simply that "I wanted Belmar to have thee cleanest bathrooms at the Jersey shore and I wanted us to have a reputation as having the cleanest bathrooms at the Jersey shore."
That effort didn't come easy, Dougherty says they had to hire new personnel, retired residents and teachers on summer break from the borough, and they pay them a little more than beach badge checkers to take the job. He says they also had to change the culture to get them to buy into the concept of why having beach bathrooms is so important to Belmar's goal in becoming the best beach in New Jersey.
They also had to change the way bathrooms were cleaned in the past. He says instead of attendants going in to clean bathrooms every hour or two hours, "what we've instilled in them is if someone comes in and they come out, you go behind them just like if you're at a nice restaurant. You go in right right behind them and make sure it's clean for the next customer to come through."
He says they even let the bathroom attendants put out a tip jar. "If you have a clean bathroom. I told them I think people will appreciate that and they'll value it."
Other quality of life improvements in Belmar include, the replacement of wood on its boardwalk with a new type of trex lumber and the addition of free beach playgrounds. They now have four. He says people are telling him it's these little changes that keep them coming back.
Listen to Rosetta's report