Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort spending up to $700K of its own money to rebuild eroded beach

Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort is spending up to $700,000 of its own money to rebuild the eroded beach located in front of the property. The move comes as the New Jersey casino, which sees the beach as an essential component of its offering, decided that it will not wait another year or two for the next government-funded beach widening project scheduled for the area.

Ocean Casino Resort began work on the replenishment project last Wednesday and plans to have a new 110-foot-wide beach open for Memorial Day weekend, reports Associated Press. The measure comes as chronic erosion near the property has reduced the beach to just 5 to 8 feet wide in places.

In conversation with the press, Bill Callahan, the casino’s general manager, said the casino can’t wait for the next government-funded beach replenishment project. The decision to spend the resort’s own money on rebuilding the beach was partly sparked by casino officials noting during a daily walk that there was very little sand between the Boardwalk and the ocean.

Because of the erosion, Callahan feared there would soon be no beach at all. “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,” he told AP. In consequence, the casino set about securing the required state and federal permits necessary to do the work on its own.

While it is unusual for private parties to carry out their own beach replenishment projects, it is not totally unheard of. Still, these represent a minority of cases, as most businesses are content to wait for the next round of government-paid programs, in which the cost of rebuilding the beach is shared by the federal, state and local governments.

According to Ryan Burch, the casino’s vice president of hotel operations, the project will dump 12,810 tons of sand on the beach, of which about half has already been placed. The work is expected to be completed by next May 19. Crews will then smooth the sand, which is trucked in from a private company in Eagleswood Township and was matched for color and grain size to the existing beach sand. 

Project manager Ian Jerome noted that the particular spot in front of the Ocean casino has historically been “the most eroded sport” on all of Absecon Island, on which Atlantic City sits. Proof of this is that past beach widening projects have often not lasted for the full three-year period before they qualify for renourishment by the government. In some cases, they wash away in as little as a year.

In case the beach needs to be rebuilt again with private money, Callahan told Associated Press that it will be. “This is part of the experience,” he noted. “You can’t have a resort without a beach.”