Atlantic City Casinos Pushing For Beach Erosion Replenishment

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Atlantic City casinos are urging state and federal governments to speed up a beach replenishment project after winter storms caused severe beach erosion, threatening the upcoming summer tourism season. The northern part of the city, home to the Resorts, Hard Rock, and Ocean Casino Resort, has been particularly affected.

"One of the highlights of coming to Atlantic City has always been the beaches and the Boardwalk," said Mike Sampson, general manager of the Hard Rock casino told WPVI-TV. "It's going to be a challenge." The storms were so severe that they completely destroyed Hard Rock's popular beach bar.

The casinos are concerned about the impact of the erosion on their tourism appeal, as Atlantic City's beaches set it apart from other gambling options in the region and the country. The erosion could make it more difficult to attract tourists and gamblers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees beach replenishment projects, stated that under the best-case scenario, new sand won't be hitting the beaches until late summer. This delay has the casinos worried about not having an essential element of their tourism appeal for the peak season.

Last summer, the Ocean Casino spent $600,000 to truck in and dump sand on its beach. However, this proved to be an unsustainable solution as the sand quickly washed away.

This year, $25 million in federal funding is available toward the $30 million cost of the beach replenishment project, with the state covering a smaller percentage. However, the government contracting process does not lend itself to quick fixes, and a contract for the work will not be put out to bid until April or May.

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