Rutala Tells Brigantine to Grow Tourism, Events with Smarter Land Use

Brigantine Summer Sunshine 2013
Brigantine Summer Sunshine

How can Brigantine boost economic development and attract new business? Consultant Jim Rutala shared some ideas at the recent Brigantine City Council meeting on May 3.

First off, Rutula thinks Brigantine should develop signature events, similar to a Somers Point Bayfest. Events like this would not only provide a short-term economic & visitor boost, but it would help in marketing the island to those who typically don’t visit here.

Rutala is a pro at grant writing. He told Brigantine to boost tourism, fill empty storefronts, and better utilize city-owned land.

Attendees noted that Brigantine’s so-called Economic Development Committee needs those with background in dealing with this challenge. The current committee features the usual suspects: Mayor Phil Guenther, & Deputy Mayor Andy Simpson. Maybe it’s time these two hand over the reigns to professionals in Business Development & Tourism Marketing?

Councilman Mike Riordan is a welcome addition to the economic team. His New York chutzpah is just what Brigantine needs.

Brigantine, like many other SJ coastal towns, is seeing a dramatic decrease in year-round residents, and it’s only getting worse. Real Estate values will be directly affected by these trends.

To be sure, Brigantine is truly a hidden jewel of South Jersey. Sadly, that’s nothing to be proud of. This stealth designation is holding back our economy.  

Editor’s Note: With over 20 years of spending summers in Brigantine, we’ve noticed how some excellent attractions & events are not so familiar to 2nd homeowners & visitors. Locals know about this stuff, but maybe we should better market these events to everyone? Advertising in local papers is not enough. Posting on Facebook is not enough.

Example of events that could attract much larger crowds, visitors and sponsors to Brigantine…..if marketed & promoted better.

  • Jet Ski Weekend
  • 4×4 Parade, Picnic & Bon-Fire
  • Horse Back Riding
  • Boating, sailing, kayak, paddle boarding
  • Brigantine has some of the BEST fishing. Leverage this better. (protect biz like Fishfinder)
  • Lifeguard Races
  • Brigantine Triathalon
  • Eco-Tourism; take advantage of both north & south ends of Brigantine
  • Anything related to Marine Mammal Stranding Center
  • Beach Soccer tournaments

To an ‘outsider’, Brigantine is just some town north of Atlantic City. That’s not a good impression for our future.

Brigantine needs a professional marketing plan from professionals, not insiders, politicians, committees, volunteers or Real Estate agents.

Brigantine must place more emphasis on amenities, attractions & events that cater to it’s #1 target market: current & potential 2nd homeowners & small-business start-ups.

Over-development and building McMansions on every square inch of Brigantine will eventually kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Details of Rutala’s presentation will soon be available.

Council’s next scheduled meeting is 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 17.