West Milford hits the tourism trail

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    WEST MILFORD — In a measure aimed at attracting more visitors to West Milford and reviving the town’s economic welfare, the council unanimously voted to establish a Tourism and Economic Revitalization Commission. The role of the new group will be to promote tourism in the town by researching, advertising and building an industry which would generate a regular flow of visitors to West Milford. A Commissioner of Tourism will be appointed by the mayor to lead the new venture starting on Jan. 1, 2006. Councilman Paul Bailey, who will relinquish his position on the town council the day before the new commission is installed, is a likely candidate for the top job. Bailey has frequently championed a committee to attract more people to the town and is already considering the role the new organization will play. Bailey will attend the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City later this month and intends to make tourism his number one priority. The municipalities’ conference is a gathering of all 566 of New Jersey’s towns, cities and boroughs to pool resources and information for their mutual benefit. “It is important for us to continue the dialogues I have initiated with the state regarding tourism development and this is an opportunity to build our image in the eyes of the people who can most help us in this regard,” said Bailey. While the new group will hopes to attract more visitors to the town, it intends to collaborate with other towns and groups in the region to create a substantial voice. Bailey said “If this is going to be successful we must partner with surrounding municipalities, and indeed this is the intention of the Highlands Council, to organize and market the natural assets of the Highland Region. Tourism is top of their list and West Milford is the poster child for this new economic model.” The Commissioner will serve for three years with each of the remaining four members serving for staggered two year periods. Mayor Joseph DiDonato will appoint all members of the group with the consent of the council. There is already a state wide tourist attraction initiative however West Milford and other nearby small towns don’t play a significant role in that enterprise. New Jersey tourism leaders group the town into what it calls the “Gateway Region” which also includes the attractions of Hudson and Union counties. Inevitably their focus therefore in attracting tourist to this gateway region is on the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Liberty Science Center. The most northerly attraction it included in its summary of the areas sights worth seeing on its website is the Great Falls of Paterson.