The sands of North Beach proved popular with many residents in the Washington, D.C. metro area in 2019.
According to a report compiled by Town of North Beach Waterfront Manager Richard Ball, between May 10 and Labor Day, the municipality hosted 28,888 visitors, a spike of 8,434 from 2018.
Add the 6,302 town residents who used the beach and pier, and the guest count increased just over 23% this year.
Waterfront revenues were up $54,723 from last year.
The report was submitted and reviewed during the September town council meeting on Thursday.
Using a “ZIP code report” Prince George’s County families visited the beach and pier just over 1,500 times, with Washington second (908) and Montgomery County third (796). Visiting families from Virginia jurisdictions (led by Fairfax) totaled 1,544.
“Along with the day-to-day beach activities, the waterfront staff was involved with assisting a July 27 wedding on the pier, the Family Eco Exploration at Wetlands, Yoga on the Pier, Storytime at Sunrise, an Aug. 24 wedding at Sunrise, kids’ nature program,” Ball stated in the report, adding that there were also weddings on the pier Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, and a wedding on the beach Sept. 7.
There are more events at waterfront venues scheduled for late September through October.
While the visitors are welcome, North Beach Mayor Mike Benton conceded the town needs to address the parking situation.
In response to comments received from citizens during the meeting, Benton said a better plan for issuing permits needs to be developed.
“We will be attacking the parking problem,” Benton said. “We will be putting a plan in place to remedy the situation. There will be a massive amount of outreach and education.”
After the meeting, Benton confirmed that the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office does not issue parking citations on behalf of the town. However, the town’s zoning officer does have judicial power to ticket illegally parked vehicles.
Benton and the council saluted 30-year town employee Issac Harris. Benton called Harris, who began working for North Beach in June 1989 “legendary. I’ve never seen him without a smiling face.”
Harris works in the public works department, reading and repairing water meters as well as tackling other maintenance work.
Benton presented Harris with a certificate of appreciation, a 30-year pin and a nominal check.
Harris recalled that his first check as a town employee was less than $100. He told The Calvert Recorder that he left his job with the FBI to work for North Beach because he wanted to work outdoors and not in an office.
“I told my mother I might have made a mistake,” Harris recalled after having received his first check from the town.
“You might get to retire before I do,” Councilman Gregg Dotson told Harris.
“I’m sure everybody has an Issac story,” said Councilwoman Gwen Schiada, noting that Harris always remembers meeting her father and frequently asks how he’s doing.
Benton also used the occasion to praise the town staff, which he described as “not large, but hardworking. Everyone goes above and beyond.”
The town council unanimously approved three appointments after voting to establish a Stormwater and Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee. Benton said the committee’s goal will be to procurement grants for stormwater management projects.
The three appointees are Jay Loveless, Loren Kabler and Gary Koopmann.