Monday, May 28, 2007

It's sad

Via WaPo - An Ocean City Icon Faces Turn in Economic Tide
For 117 summers, generations of children have frolicked through Trimper's Rides on this beach resort town's signature boardwalk. But this Memorial Day weekend might begin the last summer they circle the antique wooden carousel, fling around the Tilt-a-Whirl and loop through the Tidal Wave roller coaster.

The Trimpers say they are considering closing the amusement park and arcade this year.

As Ocean City has exploded into a megaresort, property taxes have soared for Trimper's, which operates on the last chunk of undeveloped land on the town's three-mile boardwalk. In the past three years, family members said, their assessed property value has tripled, from $21 million to $65 million.

So the Trimpers are facing reality. Revenue from thrill rides and arcade games can't keep pace with the skyrocketing value of their three-block site, they say. In addition to property taxes, insurance and energy costs are up, and the family is split over what to do: Some members want to sell, but others want to find a way -- perhaps through a change to lower the park's assessment or a historic designation -- to keep going.
I have been there. We go to New Jersey every summer, and we have made the drive to Ocean City once or twice. We've been meaning to go again, but the weather wasn't so great the last few times we had planned to go, so we didn't get to go. Trimper's Rides closing wouldn't stop us from going back, but it would certainly make it seem different.

Trimper's is not the only small amusement park affected these days.
Across the nation -- from Coney Island, N.Y., to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Panama City, Fla. -- beach amusement parks have become victims of the ocean-view development boom.
Growing up not too far from Panama City, Fla., we used to go to Miracle Strip every summer. I actually haven't been back to PC since it closed down in 2004. Not that Miracle Strip closing is the real reason I've stayed away, it is just simple one symptom of the overall problem.

To me, the beach is just no fun anymore. It is overcrowded, the traffic is awful and you can't even see the water from the street anymore. From what I've heard, Panama City wants to turn itself into another Miami. I don't really see that happening, but if it did I don't think I would ever go back. I have no desire to visit Miami, and no desire to visit a Miami North either.

Oh, well, they don't ask me nor do they care about my opinion. So I'll just keep spending my money at mountain retreats in the summertime and leave the beaches to those who like high rises and over crowding.

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