Atlantic City Boardwalk Funding Boost Incoming

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The Atlantic City Boardwalk, home to nine famous New Jersey casinos, is to receive $20 million in state funding for redevelopment, Governor Phil Murphy announced late last week.

The money will be used to fix up the original American oceanfront Boardwalk, while helping businesses that need to adapt to the changing city.

The New Jersey sports betting and online casino business is booming. But the casinos in Atlantic City have shown slower growth and even drops in revenue over the past few years.

This $20 million revitalization package will improve the public image of the city, creating a better environment for all visitors, including potential casino patrons.

The Boardwalk Preservation Fund is part of a wider $100 million package for New Jersey shore towns. As well as the headline $20 million for Atlantic City, the boardwalk in Asbury Park, central in the early career of rock icon Bruce Springsteen, will also receive $20 million.

A dozen other New Jersey municipalities will also receive shares of the grant, including Ocean City, Wildwood, and Sea Isle City.

“So many of us have created memories with family and friends at the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore,” said Governor Murphy.

“Our boardwalks have long been a prized destination, and we want to keep them that way by helping shore communities repair and maintain these wooden main streets.”

America’s Boardwalk

The new funds were provided through federal pandemic relief programs. Applications to benefit from the $100 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars opened in October 2023.

Funds were prioritized towards repairs to boardwalks and other beachfront amenities.

Atlantic City’s Boardwalk is the oldest in America, first built in 1870. The 60-foot-wide wooden structure stretches for five miles, making it one of the longest of its type in the world.

It starts by Ocean City Casino at the north end and finishes a mile past Bally’s Tropicana Atlantic City on the southern end.

The Boardwalk was once even longer. Before 1944, when the southern end of the structure was devastated by the Great Atlantic Hurricane, it extended a further two miles towards Margate City.

Project Examples

The new funds will be used to shore up the historic structure. Old and crumbling decking will be replaced, and those that remain sturdy will be spruced up.

Access and safety will be modernized along Atlantic City’s shorefront, including new railings and ramps to ensure it all complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Some money will also be available to local businesses to facilitate their own upgrades when needed to work with the new Boardwalk.

No word on whether this will include any direct funding for the city’s casinos. In various states, casinos and gambling businesses have been excluded from pandemic relief funds.

Regardless, the casinos will benefit from upgrades to the Boardwalk, as it should bring more visitors to the city.

The decline of Atlantic City has been well-documented in the gambling media. The spectacular rise and fall of Donald Trump’s casino empire in the 1990s heavily influenced the city’s fortunes, and in recent years, public safety on the Boardwalk has also become a big issue.

“We recognize that boardwalks are the economic driver for many shore towns and cities. They are also incredibly expensive for local governments to maintain, repair, and strengthen,” said acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Jacquelyn Suárez.

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