New Jersey’s Ocean Casino Resort began a project on Wednesday, May 10, to renovate the heavily eroded beach fronting it. Additionally, the project is worth $700,000, and the casino paid for the entire project out of its own pocket.
How the project came about:
The idea for the project was born during a daytime coffee walk by Callahan and several casino officials one day last fall. While walking, they looked out the window and saw very little sand between the Boardwalk and the ocean. This further led Callahan to fear that there would soon be no beach. In this regard, Callahan, the general manager of the Ocean Casino Resort, said: “That would be a horrible guest experience. It’s like, ‘Come to an unbelievable $2.5 billion resort and not have a beach.’ We just couldn’t have that.” Therefore, the casino’s focus was on obtaining as many state and federal licenses as possible to do the work independently.
Moreover, the casino-resort intends to open a new 110-foot-wide beach on Memorial Day weekend. Furthermore, chronic erosion close to the casino has decreased the beach to just 5 to 8 feet (1,5 to 2,4 meters) wide in places. In this regard, Callahan added: “Ocean can’t wait for the next government-funded beach replenishment project, which could take another year or two.”
Stephen Rochette, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said: “It is unusual but not unheard-of for private parties to carry out their own beach replenishment projects. But most are content to wait for the next round of government-paid projects, in which the cost is shared by the federal, state and local governments.” In addition, Veteran Atlantic City casino executives added: “We can not recall a casino paying to widen its own beach using its own money.”
Ryan Burch, the casino’s vice president of hotel operations, said: “The project will dump 12,810 tons of sand on the beach. About half of that had been placed as of Friday.” The entire project should be finished by next May 19. Once the project is complete, crews will smooth out the sand, which is color and grain matched to the existing sand on the beach. In this regard, Ian Jerome, project manager, said: “The sand is trucked in from a private company in Eagleswood Township, about a half-hour north of Atlantic City. The particular spot in front of the Ocean casino has historically been the most eroded spot on all of Absecon Island, on which Atlantic City sits. Past beach widening projects have often not lasted for the full three-year period before they qualify for renourishment by the government, and some wash away in as little as a year.”
Callahan added: “If the beach needs to be rebuilt again with private money, it will be. This is part of the experience. You can’t have a resort without a beach.”