Steve Raymond

Steve Raymond

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Atlantic City boardwalk replenishment project announced

Atlantic City Skyline

Photo: DenisTangneyJr / iStock / Getty Images

Nothing beats a refreshing summer boardwalk stroll after a full meal in Tropicana's Quarter or a "score on the floor" of a boardwalk adjacent casino! In recent years, however, a growing homeless population have been seeking shelter and making encampments underneath the boardwalk. While it can now be a stressful experience being approached by a homeless panhandler for extra change for the bus back to Cherry Hill, violence has also erupted with shootings and gunshots leaving our time space for enjoying beautiful oceanfront very limited. Recent boardwalk fires tearing through the boardwalk and spreading up to the casino front façades have been repeated news stories in the past couple of years. Campfires for chilly night warmth and other behaviors has been creating a menace for visitors, local boardwalk shop keepers and casinos alike.

Atlantic City officials led by Mayor Marty Small Sr., have announced changes to improve public safety and other quality of life concerns. Leaders met on the boardwalk on Monday (July 1st) for a news conference to announce the city's commitment to revitalize the world-famous boardwalk. The city is fully implementing recommendations from the Boardwalk Improvement Group. The project will be funded by the state of New Jersey and focus on public safety for all including solutions and provisions for people who are unhoused and addressing the quality of life concerns of homeless living. Besides clearing out the encampments, the city has implemented and outreach team to assist those who are unhoused by referring them to social service programs.

"Charity starts at home," Mayor Small pointed out. "We can't claim to be this worldwide resort if we don't handle the problems the resorts sometimes encounter."

Crystal (who would not reveal her last name), sells beach chairs and umbrellas on the boardwalk. She was once homeless living on and off the boardwalk. She now enjoys a new life living in an apartment when she got assistance from a social worker. She was able to secure employment because of this assistance and is turning her life around. "I landed jobs due to the social workers walking the boardwalk." She personally praised the city's increased efforts to solve the problem. "It's a struggle out here," Crystal said. But with social workers in place actually willing to help, that's a great thing."


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