ATLANTIC CITY — As much as $1 million is available to remove the decrepit end of city-owned Garden Pier after a vote Tuesday by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority board.
The most seaward section of the pier, where a theater and a ballroom once stood, was damaged during a September 1944 hurricane. Throughout the years, the far section was cut off from the main pier. The city has looked for ways to either fix or remove the remnant pier ever since. All that remains are tilted support pillars and remnant pieces of decking.
The nearly 100-year-old pier is home to the Atlantic City Arts Center and the Atlantic City Historical Museum, which are housed nearer to the beach. Ironically, a pier devoted to the arts and the city's history perennially makes the list of city eyesores.
The city's cultural attractions collections were removed from the pier just last week after a recent storm damaged pipes and electrical connections. The center and the museum frequently were closed in recent years, often for months at a time, because the city has not been able to keep up with maintenance.
A release from the CRDA said the city had requested its assistance in funding the tear-down.
"CRDA continues to contribute to the clean-up effort of Atlantic City. It is one of the top eyesores in the City and it has to go," said CRDA Chairman James B. Kehoe.
"This clean-up project adds to our efforts in the area, including the South Inlet Transportation Improvement Project, demolition of derelict structures, and expanding green space around the Absecon Lighthouse," explained Thomas D. Carver, the CRDA's executive director.
Atlantic City Solicitor Bruce Ward, who formerly represented the First Ward on City Council, said Tuesday night that obtaining the funding is one step in taking down the outer edge of the pier.
The next step would be to take a proposal for the work to city officials, Ward said.
Acquisition of the pier by the unfinished Revel casino project, which is nearby, stalled several years ago over the worth of the pier, but could proceed with the derelict end of the pier out of the way.
According to the CRDA's release, the city and Revel are continuing to work on redevelopment concepts for the pier.
Demolition of the ocean end of the pier does not preclude eventual reconstruction. The city has obtained a decision by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that the demolished portion can be rebuilt. Building a pier from scratch along the New Jersey shore is impossible under current environmental regulations.
Revel, working with the city, has obtained three competitive bids for the demolition work, according to the CRDA. Demolition, engineering and permits will cost $900,000 to $1 million, according to the CRDA.
The city and the CRDA plan to enter into an intra-governmental agreement, allowing the demolition to go forward.
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