Does Anybody Have Any Creative Ways for the City to Make Some Cash? [Part of the “What do we want” Series]

A continuation of our WHAT DO WE WANT series….

The City of Long Beach is broke and the budget forecast for 2012/13 has residents on edge. While the new gang is scrambling to get things back on track, they’re asking us for our input. I say it’s time we get creative. By that, I mean, let’s for once not talk about laying people off, cutting salaries or reorganizing unions. Sure, tough decisions have to be made, but every municipality across the world talks about that stuff. Here at seabythecity, we like to do things differently. I want to hear your CREATIVE ways on HOW the city can MAKE some MONEY. The city is reading. Who knows? Maybe your idea will come to life! Let them know how you would offset the taxes with your creative (or obvious) revenue ideas.

I came up with a few categories, but if anything is missing, please let me know in your comments.

INCREASING THE TAX ROLL (Develop? Rezone? Look into tax-exempt properties?)

Should we build up? Increasing the population would increase the tax roll. I have mentioned the idea in the past of smart development and how it will have minimal pact on our Long Beach life, but that is a hard sell to most people. Of course, it all depends on how many people the city wants to live here. I keep hearing that we are a population of 35,000 during the winter and over 50,000 in the summer. Is Long Beach maxed out? What is our cap? Should we build up? Redevelop our downtowns? Fix what we have already? BE CREATIVE.

BRING IN MORE BEACH CROWD MONEY (Long Beach is a summer town. We need Summer Dollars.)

Let’s grab cash from the tourists. So many ideas have been thrown around on this site from you readers: from food trucks & more vendors on the boardwalk to converting the superblock into a parking lot and charging out-of-towners some cash for convenient beach parking.

Since I moved here several years ago, the city has tried pedi-cabs (failed), beach umbrella & chair rentals (passed) and now decobikes (to be determined). What else can we do? How would you guys empty the tourists wallets (without robbing them)? BE CREATIVE.

BEAUTIFICATION:

Make Long Beach prettier, more people will come, stay, visit, want to live and spend more money here. I don’t know about you, but I avoid crappy areas. Why would I want to eat at restaurant that looks like crap? Why would I want to visit a town that is dirty and gross? The solution is quite simple: Make it pretty and profit. It’s not rocket science. I’ve heard of a bunch of great beautification projects that the West End Beautification Association are working on, but I don’t want to spoil any of them. I want to want to see if any of you have similar ideas or can come up with new ones. BE CREATIVE.

DONATIONS: 

This ties in with Beautification. Just like the benches on the boardwalk, people are willing to donate their money for a plaque with their name on it. What else can we get people’s names on? We can get stuff without it costing the taxpayer a dime! Maybe we can start a bulletin board fund, because it would look great in front of the LIRR and tell tourists about all the great activities here where they can spend money. BE CREATIVE.

EVENTS / ACTIVITIES:

What can we learn from the Quiksilver Pro debacle? Yeah, I am calling it a failure because they’re not coming back this September. What did we do wrong? How can we prevent that from happening again? Any other events we can bring in that will generate money? What about activities? We have beach volley ball, surfing lessons, Beach Tennis USA. I heard a rumor about one great possible idea, but I don’t want to reveal it yet because I’m curious if any of you guess what it is…  BE CREATIVE.
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COPY AND PASTE:  Talk about each topic

1. INCREASING THE TAX ROLL –

2. BEACH CROWD MONEY –

3. BEAUTIFICATION –

4. DONATIONS –

5. EVENTS / ACTIVITIES –

Please read the terms of service before you comment.

comments

55 thoughts on “Does Anybody Have Any Creative Ways for the City to Make Some Cash? [Part of the “What do we want” Series]”

  1. Thinking along your suggested lines:

    We could go Carribbean and offer banana boat rides for flat days, those awful tricycle paddle “boats” and parasailing…

    Maybe offer braid stations, ha

    all attractions would offer a receipt designating a dollar value that went directly to reducing the defecit. Not sure what you can do with those, maybe $x in receipts gets you prime seats for the free concerts…

  2. Events:
    We should have street fairs. Let the restaurant owners offer food outside their establishments. We should have two of them one for the West End and the other on Park. Hold them in May or June before the season and ADVERTISE it in NYC, Nassau, and Suffolk. Hopefully we will get a lot of people who will want to come back during the summer and frequent the restaurants whose food they liked.

  3. Sell raffles at the summer craft fairs. Get some restaurants to donate free meals and raffle them off. The funds go straight to deficit reduction.

  4. BEACH CROWD MONEY: Bed & Breakfasts. Believe this was mentioned A Lot six years ago, and politicians implemented the Four-D’s (Denied, Delayed, Dismissed, and Dissolved) the motion. People really want to come and enjoy Long Beach, but Beach passes are becoming more expensive, modes of transportation (Rail, Bus, gas) are more expensive, And Residents are putting up with this even more than the tourists. The tourists scoff at the Allegria’s excessive fees, so why not Simply legalize Bed & Breakfasts in Long Beach and make everyone money? If the tourists have more money to spend By not getting ripped off at the Allegria, they’ll be more willing to shop at our stores, our boardwalk vendors, maybe see a movie at our theatre (So it doesn’t go out of business AGAIN). I personally believe that keeping bed & breakfasts illegal is unreasonable.

  5. Keep taxing homeowners, has always worked in the past. Don’t rent out space on the boardwalk for food, would make too much sense.

  6. Sell beer on the sand. Booze has always made money for Long Beach one way or the other. Get those cop wannabees to write out tickets for littering, offer them a commission. Rent bikes then fine the renters for not wearing helmets or having bells or not riding in the lines. Make a ton of laws only the cops know about and start writing tickets. Do not under any circumstance enforce common sense traffic rules like speeding and running stop signs. Never even think about ticketing the folks who double park by the Associated.

  7. have a gift horse billion dollar corporation run a surf contest and allow them to set up concerts, skate park, and concessions. treat them well, let them do their thing and watch the money come in. oh wait….

  8. Remember that little company Quiksilver that wanted to host a week-long surf competition, concert, and festival? Maybe we should have made it a little more enticing for them to come back.

  9. In my opinion, Long Beach has 2 main assets:
    1) The boardwalk
    2) The beach

    You cannot monetize sand or wood, though it presents a unique opportunity to build an economic engine that would benefit homeowners, renters, and visitors.

    Overall, the city council needs to think LONG TERM that is visionary. I want to see a “LONG BEACH 2020” plan that spends money in an intelligent manner that would create re-occurring revenues for the city for generations to come. In the 1960’s and 70’s, the government came to the conclusion that aside from the long time residents, nobody wants to live by the beach. This resulted in poor public development. Over the past 20 years, people have come to realize that Long Beach is a GREAT place to live, work, and raise a family.

    We can longer relay on public works to create a true economy. Like it or not, our beach town is affected by the local, national and global economy. It’s time to put the onus on the private sector to re-build our city to it’s true form.

    I’m no expert, though here are some of my ideas that could help spur the revitalization:

    1) Lower taxes for local small businesses: reduce taxes for local shop/restaurant owners to allow them to re-invest those savings into their business through advertising, higher quality products/services and employees.

    2) Bring Main Street to the boardwalk: Nobody wants the boardwalk to turn into the jersey shore. But the fact remains when you’re on the beach it’s a pain in the butt to enjoy any of the amenities that Park Ave has to offer. Build restaurants, (classy bars), activities for kids.

    3) Make people want to stay when it’s not summer time: Build stuff where people would want to stay (and visit) when it’s not 85 degrees and blue skies. The performing arts center idea that’s been discussed here is a great idea. Get a real movie theater in town. Improve the rec center so that true intramural sports leagues can be organized such as basketball, softball, and other fun stuff such as dodgeball, kickball, ultimate frisbee, touch football, etc. These types of leagues are all over NYC and run by entrepreneurs. This creates an overall quality of life for residents for both families and young professionals that choose to commute into the city every day.

    4) Infrastructure: I’m going to come out and say it now. We must knock down any buildings along the Broadway and Shore Road where the building is not geared towards middle/high incomes. That means knocking down any senior citizen/nursing homes and subsidized housing. Put up modern buildings that will allow for higher income FULL TIME residents that want to take advantage of a city that is in one of the most unique locations in the world. We need to learn from the debacles that is the Allegria and Aqua. There must be a middle ground for developers to attract people to modern buildings.

    Welcome to hear all thoughts around this.

    Cheers

  10. 1. Mini-Golf summer revenue at 5 dollars a game 200,000. Cost to build 20,000
    2. Food truck rally charge a fee to the trucks have a bands and beer-garden.
    3. Boardwalk concessions real ones not the ice cream cart
    4. Movie night on the beach and have local restaurants sell food for a fee or charge an admission or make it free would be fun
    5. The rec. should go see RVC rec programs and copy them. The tumble, roll around, boys club etc have to be making money.
    6. Adopt-a-boardwalk: decided on what is the best materials that would last and ask corporations or individuals to sponsor a block. A sign etc can be posted and boardwalk will look great.

  11. Do quicksilver on a smaller scale with Unsound as the sponsor with local talent concerts, bicycle races, events…charge for entry fees, parking…sell food on beach…could be a great event that would attract surfers and spectators from all over the tri state area. get radio stations involved for promo, local stores could set up tents and sell merch. city could charge for the space…much like selling booths at a trade show.

  12. Great ideas so far everybody! Keep them coming!

    I do love the idea of bringing in more activities, also to get people to want to visit Long Beach during the winter.

    I didn’t want to give away your mini-golf idea Allison, so I’m glad you mentioned it. It’s a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. Great idea.

  13. Sensei, Allison and RD: ALL wonderful suggestions. There are lots of small ways of picking up revenue here and there but what the city has lacked for almost 40 years is a PLAN, direction and oversight. Yes, the city should have Bed & Breakfasts; what better spot! But without the proper zoning and building dept. oversight this can easily be turned by greedy owners into run down rooming houses. The city needs to assign City Council members the job of seeking out partners to develop the waterfront, to create a 1st class performing arts center, to create a city center with a renovated city hall and plaza; to renovate and upgrade the Rec Center, to create an indoor/outdoor entertainment center with miniature golf, plus indoor rock climbing walls, roller skating, skate boarding etc. so that families can enjoy rainy summer days. Someone has to take the reins and say, this is a jewel, lets get some help in creating the most beautiful city we can whether that is Public/Private partnerships, Grants, etc. Once something gets done, it will create a groundswell of enthusiasm in the way of influx of businesses, high property values, interest from other event planners like Quiksilver. Go to the city web site and look at the Master Plan that was created back in 2006 with great expense and great involvement by local residents. Some of the recommendations include: Development of a bayfront redevelopment plan as well as blight study, Urban Renewal Designation and plan, Reconstruction of Rec. Center on site and reconstruction or relocation of MLK, implementation of streetscape improvement plans targeted to local conditions of downtown, the West End, Long Beach Blvd., etc. etc. We need to ask our elected officials on an individual basis: what are you doing to make Long Beach a better place to live?

  14. RD, well I would contact a city council person directly and ask them to tackle a specific issue. For example: Steve Mandel was involved in the illegal tenant crackdown with the $30k grant money. I reached out to him via e-mail and asked him to revisit the issue of resident parking (which was recommended in the Master Plan) as a deterrent to both illegal apartments and rentals to groups. When it comes time to re-elect our officials, I want to be able to make a decision based not only on Dem or Repub but also on how each one personally contributed to the betterment of our community through their position on the City Council.

  15. Open parking lots on the foundation block….have a tram service to restraunts…sell the city with all we have to offer…concerts on the beach

  16. Sure to be I popular, but we need parking meters. Brings in revenue and every study shows that, when done well, it increases the amount of customers to local businesses (don’t believe the fear mongering).

    And as mentioned above, commercial activity on the boardwalk. I know it was shot down as part of a ‘visioning’ process some years back, but they don’t have to be the classless sh*tholes we’ve had there in the past.

    Lastly, I would love to see better public spaces. Yes, our beach rules, but what about the rest of the city? The plaza in front of city hall is blah at best, the traffic medians on Park Ave (not the lots) seem to be designed just for trees and don’t exactly scream for human interaction. Even the parks and playgrounds we have (save the west end water park) do little to attract and retain human interaction. I’m thinking Millenium Park in Chicago or what they’ve done with Times Square in NYC. Well designed spaces infused with just the right amount of art and wonderment can create amazing places that both residents and tourists will flock to. They create a stronger sense of community and make a city more attractive and vibrant (read: brings in the dollars).

  17. We Live in the CITY of Long Beach no?? The few nay sayers want us to be a Village Like Point Lookout!
    They are a very few but very Loud group that show up to every council meeting.
    We need to organize us Forward thinkers and Demand some work on our vision. Our Boardwalk while awesome is soo Freakin Boring!
    We need to work on drawing people with Kids #1 as they spend to entertain their kids every weekend all year round.
    Foundation Block= Mini Golf, Mini Water Park, 4 Flo Riders (look em up) for older kids and Adults.
    Some Thrill Rides and concession stands Along The boardwalk part on and on!
    Super Block needs to go Forward with plans of Mini Mall Restaurants maybe Bowling alley and a Arts Theater. The Bay front by North Park Could be a sweet Warf with Water Taxis, Bay Boat rides Bay front Grill and Marina.
    I actually have a Video for a Promo of all this i’d Love to post and share,
    Is it possible to attach a link here??

  18. 1) We should brig back Quiksilver the ads for that made Long Beach famous and made tons of money. Also, many people came to Long Beach and saw how great it was and will probably come back

    2) For the local kids: make things for when the weather is not so nice like bowling, laser tag, paintball etc.

    3) during the summer we should have some cool things ON the beach like a giant inflatable slide or something like that.

    4) ON the boardwalk make a few shops like a souvenir shop, beach shop (closer to the beach for better access) etc.

    5) We should hold a fair, either permanent or temporary, it would help greatly to Long Beach

    6) we should build more modern buildings and more hotels.

    I hope you like my ideas!

  19. Another short term solution would be to create a “food mall” at the base of Riverside Blvd. You could invite foodie trucks to park on the lot/foundation block for a fee. Set up tables set up behind the”house” on Riverside. If it is ok to close that off when holding 5K races or other charitable events there would not be a problem with emergency vehicle access there.

  20. Parking is the biggest issue for most of the above excellent ideas. Some part of the super block should be a paid parking lot. We should try to utilize the parking structure at the train station on the weekends have paid parking there and have it include a free RT ride on the bus to either the beach or any other destination on the routes. If the LIRR owns the lot can the town rent it?

    Find a way to get those people who wait until after 6 pm to pay to use the beach. I see many who are obviously not residents wait until after the entry shack has closed to enter the beach. They are also more apt to get into trouble swimming since there are no lifeguards and most seem to have no idea about water safety, rip currents etc.

    Encourage the use of the city buses. They run at capacity during rush hour but many of the off hours see them run with a mere handful of passengers. Perhaps expand the shopper’s specials route to include at least part of W. Park Ave, or have one of those smaller buses run back and forth between CVS and Associated only, stopping at any corner and perhaps have slightly expanded hours. This could help alleviate parking and help defray the cost of running the buses.

    Utilize the ball fields by the Rec Ctr. Organize a soft ball league. Get local businesses to sponsor teams. This was very successful in Huntington.

    Expand the fishing dock to accept boaters who would pay a docking fee, which could include free transport into the business area. I bet there is a way something could be worked out with one or both of our cab companies. Have you noticed how many boats go past in Reynolds Channel, having a city owned docking facility seems like a no brainer to me.

    Above all, we have to strike a balance between turning into a mini Atlantic City and just standing still.

  21. Mary Ellen I agree that we need to involve our city legislatures in redeveloping first. Otherwise all of this talking is just that, talk.

    Some have said that a miniature golf course, water park would be sufficient at the super block. Those are fine, I personally am more enthusiastic about a facility that would cater to the more die hard athletes of Long Beach (Which there are MANY) who can’t challenge themselves spiritually at a gym, let alone a miniature golf course. Here is a link to a facility that I would love to be involved in, ( http://www.jumpskyhigh.com/ )seeing developed at the Super block.This facility has the capability of incorporating Volleyball into its elements. It already has basketball, dodgeball, it offers practice space for snowboarders who want to practice their skills in the summer, and for wake boarders in the winter.

  22. Sensei. wow, that place looks fantastic!But you need someone from the city to reach out and try to negotiate a deal. That’s what I mean about assigning each council member a specific role depending on their personal or professional skills.

    I’d love to see a “Chelsea Piers-like’ facility on the SuperBlock. But maybe that’s not the best ” fit.” First develop a plan for the future of the city, then little by little fill in with private investors: like a Performing Arts Center sponsored by Quiksilver for example, or a marina (did the Fire house have to be built on prime bay front property?) or mini golf or jumpskyhigh etc. But vision is key: somewhere along the line, someone should have told the Allegria owner that this style/type of hotel was not a good fit for Long Beach. Not now anyway. That’s why a vision and plan is crucial.

  23. The city calendar should scrap the boring pictures submitted by residents and go for full spreads of administrators in provocative poses around the city and charge for the calenders.

  24. You know those painted life size horse statues they have (mostly on the North Shore?). I’d love to see a competition to paint and decorate and design Boardwak Benches. I can see wildly colored ones, welded metal ones, new sinuous shapes, steampunk benches, surfboard shaped benches, double decker ones to match the double decker bikes on the Boardwalk. Then scatter them throughout town. It might not make money in itself, but the publicity could get Long Beach jumpstarted on the way to being a more hip, vibrant place for people to come to live or spend money.

    How about a Boardwalk fair for artists and artisanal food makers from Brooklyn?

  25. MHC I love this! Here’s something similar that Hewlett Did a few years ago. (It wasn’t with benches, but rather with their high school’s team mascot (The Bulldog) and it generated revenue ($100,000 +) for the Hewlett H.S. Art Department, and scholarships etc. That’s not what you’re trying to generate, but the way they had local merchants sponsor bulldogs by paying to house the bulldog in its store (once finished by the artist, titled, and uploaded onto the Bulldog Website-Map) it generated a lot of interest into those stores from people who were on “Bulldog Tours” You can have some sort of Bench Tours. The Project Bulldog was a great program, I recommend checking it out if you can: http://projectbulldog.net/Welcome.html
    I really love the surf board idea. The artists will come to YOU(The organization) because it’s such a great idea. (That’s already putting a huge hurdle behind you).

  26. Love the idea of painting the ticket booths as well as the boxes on Ocean View in the West End. Would love to see it as a community engaged project: Every year a set of Long Beach High School kids’ designs selected by Long Beach Artists Partnerships. This way we would know that it would be a freshly painted every season. Combine it with a Summer Soltice Fair and make it part of the official season kick off.

  27. Build several storage lockers between each section of the concrete columns under the boardwalk and rent them out to residents and nonresidents. We can start by using all the wood the city is wasting where they are ripping out the existing metal boardwalk railings and replacing it with expensive 4×4 posts and hundreds of feet of 2×6 lumber (does anybody else agree that this new wooden railing is butt ugly compared to the metal railing we are losing each time they rehab a section of the boardwalk?).

    Having the luxury of not having to haul your beach chairs, surfboards and umbrella to the beach each time you visit is a convenience people will pay a premium for (especially non-residents who might take the train instead of driving here each time with all of their stuff). Once it’s built we will have a reoccuring stream of revenue to the city. The best part is when folks are late paying their storage fees we can have a reality TV show come down and film us auctioning all their stuff off: Storage Wars Long Beach, this Sunday on the Discovery channel.

  28. Larry this is a great idea. The food truck trend is very big right now, the trucks need a big crowd and that spot in the summer is just right, easy acces back on the boardwalk and the beach.

  29. If you want the beach to make money during the winter how about this…Allow people to bring their dogs on the beach from say January 1st to maybe March 31st. Now before you dog haters pan the idea there would be rules. 1) a two tier system, residents $25 for the beach permit (of course the dog would need to be registered, more money for the city) and $50 for non residents 2) Everyone would need to buy and use a special collar for the dog that the city would sell ($$). Something bright neon so the cops or specials can see if from the boardwalk…tickets for violators of courses $$! 3) Dogs must remain on leashes at all time, or maybe have a beach for off leash activities but we can work that out later. I have heard people claim that the there is an insurance issue with dogs on the beach but since everyone would need to get a permit maybe there could be a ‘hold harmless’ clause or the insurance could be worked into the cost of the permit. I know plenty of people who would pay $50 to walk along the beach in the winter. Please keep in mind most of the dog owners are good, pick up after their dog people. The rest we can fine, more money for the city!

  30. have the city run a for profit volleyball league on the beach. they can make it cheaper and buy all new equipment for the players and thus it will be a win / win for everyone.

  31. Fantastic idea.
    Dog owners are very limited on wete they can walk their dogs in Naussa County. In the City, dogs are allowed in all the parks— but not here on Long Island. Dog owners would pay the money. Dog toys, food, etc. is one of the highest grossing industries right now-dog lovers would definitely pay the fee.

  32. This is not about raising $10 per dog owner * 5000 owners. This is not about bake sales. It is about $16mm. Need large projects, such as real estate development rights, water rights, surf rights, etc. Otherwise, it is just putting bandaids on gunshots.

  33. or it is about these quality of life upgrades that would increase the vitality of the city and thus our tax base rather than seeking a one shot real estate deal

  34. you could sell our sewage treatment plant to the county or their new P3 provider and get your one shot, all you would need to do is hook us up to Bay Park

  35. Larry, I agree with you completely. It is about restoring a sense of vitality and quality of life to a city mired in gloom and doom. It doesn’t have to be anything big for the moment, it could be as simple as the food trucks, or painting lively designs on the beach huts, or replanting the beach entrance gardens. These are not bandaids on gun shots, they are reminders of what our city can be and hopefully will be.

  36. Remember last week how I said how I was going to wait a week, then create a full list of all the ideas and post them? Well, I lied. I’m not doing it this week, but next week I will! That means you have more time to come up with more ideas!

  37. that will mean your list will come after the May 22 council meeting and have less of an impact on the city council as decisionmakers when contemplating the proposed city budget offered by the City Manager

  38. my thoguht was that these ideas would show the council that there were viable alternatives.

    RIght now the city manager is going through the budget to identify $7 million in reductions.

    IF he is successful, he will then come to the taxpayers and ask us to finance the remaining $10 million hole.

  39. I totally understand what you are saying and I’ll try to get it done before the weekend is over, but a lot of stuff listed here can’t be done over night and I can’t overwhelm the city with such a long list.

    My original intention was to show the city that we have all these great ideas PLUS, there are some great ones already in motion (from Mary Ellen -WEBA & Allison K who already spoke to the city) that should really be considered, because this is the long beach a lot of us want.

    Essentially, promoting there ideas, while offering a template for future considerations. Like I mentioned in the post, I know who reads the blog, so what people wrote here is not and will not be wasted.

  40. What really brings crows is the movie stars!!…Let invite movie stars to invest and open their own restaurant in Long Beach area. We will have the wall of restaurant of fame in Long Beach..Can you imagine people all over USA reserving hotels etc, to try their food at higher prices and ultimately more taxes and more spending happening within the city!!!

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