The biggest topic of conversation here in Cape May County this time each year is about what type of winter weather are we going to experience.
The last two winters were quite mild, with snowfall totals under seven inches both years for the four month season. Snow plows mostly sat idle and sanding and salting roads was minimal.
Both years we experienced a mild February, raising hopes for an early spring. We were disappointed each year, as March blew cold and blustery and made February a fading memory.
One of the Almanacs predicted no major snowstorms in December, one in January, and two apiece in February and March. At the coffee pot, locals are lamenting that “March is going to be the bad month”.
Meanwhile, we’ve all learned to just grin and bear as far as winter is concerned. It’s out of our control. The best approach is to get out and enjoy the warm spells and hunker down near the fireplace when it’s cold or snowy.
AIRPORT RAMPING UP
The Cape May County Airport, located in the Erma section of Lower Township, is often a forgotten asset. The nearly 1,000 acre site hosts the Naval Air Station Museum, the Forgotten Warriors Vietnam Museum, the Lower Township Safety Building, the Erma Volunteer Fire Company, the Flight Deck restaurant, Cape May Brewing Company, and well over a dozen other businesses. And, of course, there is the two runway airport that sees about 35,000 take-offs and landings each year.
The airport ground is owned by the county. The Delaware River and Bay Authority has operated the facility since 1999 via a $1 per year lease. The two entities are now working to develop the land to its best economic potential.
With $22 million in improvements enacted in the past, a new $6 million push is in effect to improve roads, infrastructure, and create a new entrance. A $2 million , 15,000 square foot light industrial building is currently under construction and new tenants are signing up to get on board.
In a never ending quest to bring full time jobs to Cape May County, officials are touting the airport as a place for research and development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better known to us all as drones. Since the county is surrounded by water and wetlands – which don’t contain buildings – it’s the perfect place to carry out their test flights.
The airport has seen a lot of history in aviation, having originally been the site of dive bomber training during World War II. Locals are hoping that the airport is about the write a new chapter in its illustrious life.
It didn’t take long for a new tenant to come forward to occupy the recently closed K-Mart in Rio Grande. Tractor Supply tipped their hand by advertising on the internet to fill all positions from managerial to receiving to the floor. No word on when they will open.
Tractor supply has 26,000 employees manning 1617 stores in 49 states. They’ve been around since 1938 when the first store opened in Minot, ND. Today they operate out of Tennessee and showed $6.78 billion in gross revenue last year.
This is Tractor Supply’s first foray into Cape May County. The closest store at the moment is in Vineland.
There is controversy surrounding operation of the iconic Hereford Inlet Lighthouse. The mayor of North Wildwood has had the locks changed and the non-profit Friends of the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse are up in arms.
Problems began when the NJ Department of Transportation notified the city that a $17,000 grant awarded in 2011 had not been closed out properly so the city would not be reimbursed for the money they fronted to Friends.
The city decided in November to terminate the operating agreement with Friends, which had been enacted in 2001 by then mayor Bill Henfey, who is now deceased, The city claimed that the lighthouse was not being operated effectively, while Friends disputed those allegations.
The lighthouse is owned by the state of New Jersey and is leased to the city in a unique arrangement. The city operated the lighthouse with its municipally appointed Lighthouse Commission from 1982 to 2011, when Friends got the nod.
As the two sides trade barbs and accusations, the city has been proactive in assigning lighthouse tasks. The city’s Building and Grounds will care for the property, the Tourism and Information Center will move to the lighthouse, the Recreation Department will staff the lighthouse, and a volunteer North Wildwood Historical Commission will be created to oversee.
NOW’S THE TIME
It is a good time to get into the Cape May County real estate market. For sellers; prices are slightly increasing and demand is way up. You’ll be going to the bank before you know it.
For buyers; there is sufficient inventory so that family legacy you’ve always dreamed about is out there waiting for you to pull the trigger.
I love to talk about real estate and our island. I am always glad to share my insights, observations, and visions.
I am still involved in real estate 365 days a year. It’s my passion. I will gladly handle listing your property, give you a free market analysis, or show you a wide variety of properties that may suit your needs.
Stop by our office at 5602 New Jersey Avenue and chat. Or give me a call at 609-780-7131. I answer my phone 8am to 9pm EVERYDAY and you always get a real, live person. That’s service!