Crisfield’s rebuild is dependent upon implementing specific Tourism Services, Amenities and Supplemental Attractions (TSA&SAs) that are relative to the traffic-type. Moreover, it will be assisted, or hindered, according to the cooperation received from the property owners in each Focus Area. Extensive, detailed planning is pointless without first ascertaining the availability of each property. I have methods/strategy to obtain this information from the property owners, which should increase the chances of them cooperating, that I have not included in this report.
Regardless of which properties will be available, this plan will address the TSA&SAs that are pertinent to the traffic types, and which ones will have the greatest chance of success with the number of traffic-units that will be present within Focus Area 1.
As stated, the proposed goal of the CA&DC is to generate 500 traffic-units per day, and even though this is a substantial amount, and will launch the tourism industry, it’s no where near the amount needed to reach the overall objective (retaining Crisfield’s youth).
Therefore, the rebuilding of Crisfield should focus on attracting the number of traffic-units that will be needed to achieve the overall objective. This subject is one of the things that even though I do have data on, I have not yet completed, so numbers are estimates. My initial estimate of daily traffic-units needed (during season), is 1000-1200 each day during the week, and 2500-3000 each weekend day.
Food & Beverage Services:
➢ Eateries – The majority of traffic in the focus area will be walk-up service types. A priority should be implementing locally owned establishments to keep the revenue that’s produced circulating within the area. Unique and marketable menu items should be pushed. Crabs, oysters and other seafood items should be given special attention.
Additionally, there are many within the local African-American community who are experts in cooking what is simply best identified as, ‘soul-food.’ Churches, and other fundraisers, at times do dinner platters and they are always very popular, and would likely be popular with tourists as well.
Recruiting local African-American chefs, and assisting them with assistance in start-up is worthy of looking into. Soul-food has a deep connection with our local culture and with an effective marketing campaign, could have a significant positive effect.
➢ Specialty Snacks/Refreshments – Common types needed, but specialty types unique to the area are RECO (recommended), as well.
➢ Souvenir & Youth Toy/Novelty – This has the potential to generate great economic activity, especially with the Y-16 group. It’s RECO that pirate themed merchandise be widely offered. Plastic/foam swords, toy muskets/pistols, eye patches, bandanas, full costumes, action figures, etc.
➢ Clothing & Apparel – T-shirts, tank-tops, hoodies, hats, visors, beach towels, etc. There’s a dual benefit of this merchandise, this is that clothes not only offer economic activity, they also – with the right kind of designs – are walking advertisements for Crisfield.
Currently – as previously stated – the majority of the retail stores in Crisfield fall under the category ‘home-wares.’ Discussions should be held with these businesses about the possibility of them changing their merchandise to align with the type of traffic that is being created.
➢ Kayak/ Stand Up & Peddle-boat Tours & Rentals Crisfield already has one business offering this service, and others can be implemented with little cost and effort when the traffic level supports it.
➢ Watermen Heritage Tours – This was briefly explained previously, but it’s crucial that Crisfield recognizes the value of the working watermen. They should be made into celebrities, and measures taken so tourists know who they are, their family history, the background of their boat, etc.
There are numerous methods to facilitate bringing notoriety to the watermen. Competitions are one way; boat-docking contests originated in Crisfield, and there are multiple other aspects of working the water that can become races, efficiency challenges, etc. In essence, create a ‘Watermen’s Olympics,’ and host them multiple times per year, with a grand-championship in the fall.
Another way to make these people celebrities is to host a ceremony each year called the ’Watermen Awards.’ Prizes could be given for the top ‘scraper,’ top ‘large-rig crabpotter,’ top ‘small-rig crabpotter,’ top ‘bank-trapper,’ etc. In addition to watermen from Crisfield being honored, those from Deal Island, Fairmount, Smith and Tangier Islands should be included as well. Incidentally, these challenges and awards would be equally beneficial for crab-picking, oyster-shucking and other seafood-based occupations.
I recommend that the CTI facilitate establishing a locally operated business/agency to take reservations, schedule the watermen, provide updates on weather conditions, etc.
➢ Jet-Ski Rentals – There are multiple avenues that can be taken with this service but all planning steps should be safety based. Specific areas could be designated as jet-ski only and require that the rental business(es) have staff-members accompany the renters to monitor safety.
➢ Para-Sailing – There are numerous parasailing businesses operating in Ocean City, and is offered in the large majority of water-based tourist towns.
➢ Pirate Battle Cruises – Boats could be customized to be pirate-themed and outfitted with water-cannons to battle with another boat, shoot at targets, etc.
For Crisfield to attract ‘vacationers,’ there has to be attractions beyond the niche’ types (camping, fishing, etc) and must offer amusement type services. There does, however, need to be extensive research done on each type of amusement service (operating times, traffic flow, parking needs, etc), and determine which services are conducive to each particular Focus Area – and which ones are not.
For example, a water park, a traditional amusement park (one with roller coaster, ferris wheel, etc), go-karts, etc, may require too much parking space and possibly cause an undesirable level of automobile traffic congestion to be beneficial in Focus Area 1, but be a perfect ft for Focus Area 2, 3, etc.
It may be wise to collect all of the legal aspects pertaining to each individual enterprise first and foremost. This may help eliminate unneeded delays like what happened with implementing the usage of golf-carts. Crisfield passed a law allowing their use, however, when businesses looked into renting golf-carts, they couldn’t get insurance because MD didn’t have any existing laws pertaining to golf-cart usage.
➢ Amusement Park – Typical, land based amusements. Possible pirate themed. Land availability, feasibility and profit studies needed.
➢ Water Park – Water slides, wave machines, areas for ‘laying-out,’ etc. Same requisites for Amusement Park needed for this. Addressed again in Hotel/Conference Center below.
NOTE: Again, due to space requirements for Amusement and Water Parks, it may not be feasible to construct these in Focus Area 1. Additional studies needed.
An example of an amusement service that may fit well in Focus Area 1, would be that of an arcade.
➢ Arcades – The majority of tourist destinations often have multiple arcade businesses. Besides video games, many establishments have pool tables, air hockey and even batting cages for baseball.
In addition to this being patronized by tourists, on most evenings there are dozen(s) of local teenagers that hang-out in parking lots, the typical clientele for this type of service, and moreover, arcades operate year-round.
➢ Trolleys: Considering the level of traffic, offsite parking will be needed resulting in a need for transportation services. (additional information on parking later in report)
➢ Water-Taxi: This has been covered in reports produced by other groups. This service will have more of a demand if Janes Island beach is improved to accommodate visitors (more on this later in report).
NOTE: I have additional information on other types of services that are not addressed in this report.