Hip. Hip. Hooray!

That was the response from a jitney driver when he learned the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is planning to mill and pave Pacific Avenue in the not-too-distant future.

The total cost of the project will be $3 million. However, it has not yet been funded, CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said.

Tripping, installation of underground conduit for future traffic control and fiber-optic cables will be included. Damaged concrete gutters will be replaced and adjustments will be made to the exaggerating crowning condition along the roadway. Upon the completion of the Pacific Avenue refurbishing, work would begin on Atlantic Avenue.

The milling and paving of Atlantic and Pacific avenues is expected to cost $5 million total, according to the CRDA. The projects have not been funded, but the plans are expected to be presented to the authority’s Board of Directors before the end of the year.

The long-awaited discussion of upgrading traffic signals along Atlantic and Pacific avenues is expected to be held by the board in the very near future, too. The cost of that project would be $19 million. It, too, has not yet been funded.

The above issues have been causing complaints for too long from those driving on the city’s streets. It has been known that Atlantic City’s traffic signalization program is an abomination and comes with no expeditious way to drive through the community. It will take some time to get it done, but once the funding is in place, work on these projects can begin.

More CRDA projects

An agreement to install new Boardwalk lights and poles between Roosevelt Place and Jackson Avenue still has not been reached. The CRDA and Atlantic City have agreed to mark the areas where they should be installed. That should be completed in the very near future.

But the holdup is the lack of an agreement between Atlantic City Electric, the CRDA and Atlantic City. This comes from what the city complains is an overcharge for the lights that had been previously installed. One way to resolve it, from what I have learned, would be to use those funds to pay for the electricity when the new lights have been installed.

Hopefully, this will be resolved before the summer.

Meanwhile, the CRDA estimates that capital costs for Boardwalk improvements will be $56 million. Funds will come from the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and the CRDA, which will pick up more than $800,000 of Atlantic City’s share.

The following are the areas of the Boardwalk that need to be improved:

  • Bellevue to New Jersey avenues, $11.85 million
  • Rhode Island to Oriental avenues, $8.2 million
  • Oriental to Atlantic seawall, $15.3 million
  • Atlantic to Madison avenues, $1.8 million
  • Madison to Melrose seawall, $5.9 million
  • Melrose to the Caspian Promenade expansion, $1.6 million
  • Caspian to Gardner’s Basin, $5.7 million
  • Jackson to Roosevelt avenues, $1.7 million
  • Roosevelt to Bellevue avenues, $4 million.

One of the questions that has been raised is whether there should be boards on the land side of the seawall. Personally, I do not see the need for them, as it would cost about $5 million to put them in place.

Also, the facade lighting program for the Pacific Avenue side of Boardwalk Hall has been approved by those who saw the mockup, officials say. They believe it will attract a lot of attention as one drives into the city from the White Horse and Black Horse pikes and the Atlantic City Expressway.

The Board of Directors will consider approval of this item at its November meeting. The contract would be awarded in December for completion by the summer.

Downtown marketplace

The CRDA’s board has granted preliminary approval for the downtown marketplace projects. It also authorized as much as $100,000 for project feasibility expenses that will allow the CRDA to seek a request for proposals to obtain a market feasibility study.

When the board approved the Atlantic City Revitalization Plan, the intent was to develop a series of projects within the downtown area that would bring more visitors into town and create a more vibrant, walkable, commercially successful downtown. They envisioned a midsize market, somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000 square feet, and their staff has identified several suitable locations within the city.

Lighthouse District Park

Lighthouse District Park will create an open green space from the Absecon Lighthouse east to Altman Park. The park will complement future development within the South Inlet of mixed-use development projects. The CRDA said it approved $1.8 million in funds for the project and approved receipt of $4.2 million from Atlantic County. About $90,000 will be used for new doors, windows and exterior repairs and to complete the exterior lighting.

Pat Cooper at Borgata

Some 50 years ago, when I was manager of Luigi’s Gondola Nightclub, I hired Pat Cooper, a literally unknown comic. He was the opening act for Enzo Stuarti, a well-known singer.

Pat was very funny and received rave reviews. That was the beginning of my 50-year relationship with this great guy.

Whenever he was in Atlantic City, he always stopped in to be a guest on my radio show. Audiences enjoyed stories about his family, particularly one about a cold snowy day when he told his father that he wanted to go on a vacation. His father put him outside on the fire escape, closed the window and said, “Enjoy your vacation.” His appearance Friday at the Borgata Comedy Club is his first time back in Atlantic City for too long.

In March 1962, Atlantic City was hit by a severe Northeast storm that brought the ocean across Pacific Avenue and right to the door of the nightclub. In the midst of the storm, a party of six people walked in and said, “We want to see Pat Cooper’s show.” They were the only ones in the club. For the next hour, Pat put on the private show for them. He is a classy performer.

He was one of the first cooks on the Food Network because he makes a delicious meatballs and spaghetti dish. Pat recently wrote an autobiography about his life in comedy. “Pat Cooper: How Dare You Say How Dare Me!” is a hilarious book. I highly recommend you read it.

Pinky’s Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky’s Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, “WMGM Presents Pinky,” airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: pinky@pressofac.com.