PierAC – Probably Not Coming in July

There’s a sign on the locked gate of Garden Pier at the far end of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk. It reads “PierAC – coming July 2017”. The pier’s landscaping is unkempt. Nothing seems to be going on in the way of development.
Property records show Bart Blatstein borrowed millions of dollars backed by his Atlantic City properties at the start of last year. The developer’s purchases since then have not been costly, which would suggest he has money to spend on building and renovation. But Blatstein has been keeping quiet about his plans.

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Double Dutch

There were more than a hundred people gathered in Brown Park on Saturday for a double dutch competition. While kids swarmed the park’s brand-new play equipment, their parents gathered around swishing jump ropes. More than the official ribbon-cutting two weeks ago, this event marked the rebirth of a park that had become synonymous with so many of Atlantic City’s problems.

After a $1.5 million renovation, the park reopened last month and it is now being used by families. Many of the parents in the park on Saturday never played there themselves – Brown Park had that kind of a reputation for over three decades. “We’re 35 years old – no one ever played in Brown’s Park, because of the infestation of drugs and alcohol and violence,” said Indra Owens, co-founder of a girls’ mentoring group called Princess Inc. When Owens and her Princess Inc co-founder Automne Bennett learned the park was being renovated, they got together with managers of the nearby housing developments.

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Water Watch

May 27: That’s the date the state’s designated overseer can start dissolving and “monetizing” Atlantic City’s water system by leasing it or selling it outright to a private corporation. In a speech in April, the executive director of the system, Bruce Ward, who is trying to keep the Municipal Utilities Authority under city control, talked about his hometown (he was born in Stanley Holmes Village) and the many assets he has seen slip away during his lifetime. Above Convention Hall, etched into the stone, was a declaration: The building was conceived as a “permanent monument” to the “ideals of Atlantic City—built by its citizens.” “But we don’t own it anymore,” Ward said. “The state does.” Ditto the city’s parking authority, airport, etc., and so on down the line. Water is the last asset the city has control over and the state’s circling that too.

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Bill’s Gyros To Reopen in June – Probably

Bill’s Gyros, a Boardwalk fixture in Atlantic City, has been closed a lot this winter. There was a sign on the door that said go to My Friend Diner, another block north along the boardwalk. Sometimes, even My Friend Diner was closed. The blue-fronted gyro spot claimed it “never closed”. But people were asking about it, worried about Bill.

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CRDA Planning Officer Green Lights Beer Garden Project

A plan to open a beer garden on Atlantic City’s boardwalk is one step closer to launch after a public hearing last month. The planning officer for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees the boardwalk and tourism district, last week recommended the beer garden project to CRDA’s board for approval. The board’s next meeting is on Tuesday. Some of the existing construction on the site was being demolished this Tuesday, presumably to make way for the beer garden. The company behind the project, Dectrinity, already runs the Bungalow beach bar and the Boardwalk bar next door to the proposed beer garden site at the corner with California Avenue.

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Op-Ed: Stand Together to Fight State Takeover

Ben Franklin said it best at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” These words are very applicable in Atlantic City and Atlantic County today, with the unconstitutional state intrusion, taking of tax revenue and giveaways in Atlantic City. County Executive Dennis Levinson has been authorized by the Freeholder Board to sue the state in federal court over the flawed PILOT program. The city and county residents must lobby to support those efforts and expand the cause of action to include the necessary constitutional and civil rights claims against the state. How would this be done?

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Atlantic City Seeking Sculpture for Brown Memorial Park

Atlantic City has published a request-for-proposals for a sculpture to go in the renovated Harold R. Brown Memorial Park along Dr Martin Luther King Blvd. The city is requesting proposals to design, supply and install a sculpture, according to the bid notice. Sealed proposals should be submitted before the purchasing division’s meeting on Tuesday May 9 at 11 am. Artists interested in submitting a proposal should contact the purchasing department for bid specifications. Brown’s park has been transformed this year, since Councilman Kaleem Shabazz and others launched a campaign to try and find funds to clean it up:

Help Needed To Rebuild Atlantic City Memorial Park

Atlantic City Development Corp, the developer behind the Stockton University campus on Absecon Island, came forward to help out after the county said it couldn’t provide the funds.

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South Jersey Wunderkinder Plan Pop-Up Dining Experience For New AC Charity

A group of young talents from the Atlantic City area has come together to form an ambitious new charity that they will kick off with AC’s first ever pop-up restaurant – outdoors, under the stars, and for 200 to 300 people. The nonprofit is called For Atlantic City By Atlantic City and it is the brainchild of Michael Brennan, the award-winning chef of Ventnor’s Cardinal Bistro, and friends including Carl Fleck and Lenny Schafer of the Iron Room in Atlantic City. For the first pop-up extravaganza, Brennan will be the kitchen mastermind, while Fleck and Schafer will craft cocktails for the guests. There is a kickstarter to fund the project and Brennan said he hopes to send $30,000 of the fundraising proceeds to the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club. “Basically, having grown up in this area and watching the steady decline of not only our economy but the environment around us, I wanted to be able to help,” Brennan said via Facebook.

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