Steel Pier in Atlantic City will not open today as planned. Six of the park’s eight new rides do not have completed paperwork, owner Tony Catanoso said Friday.
Catanoso said there is a “considerable amount of paperwork” required before rides can be operational. “Sometimes, the engineers in the state take their time with things,” he said.
Rather than open without them, the pier is now expected to open Friday, May 25, at 4 p.m. for Memorial Day weekend.
Catanoso said the delay is better than offering a limited array of amusements.
“When we open, we want to open all 22 rides,” Catanoso said Friday, about 30 minutes after owners announced the delay at 4:45 p.m.
“We want the ‘wow’ factor,” he said.
The pier’s Facebook page announced Thursday it would open with a limited number of rides operating. A subsequent post listed Friday announced the full delay.
Tony Catanoso said pier owners waited until Friday afternoon to decide on the weekend’s operations because they were “just holding out hope that we could get (the engineers).”
Before the Catanosos and other investors took full ownership in August, the century-old Steel Pier had lost some of the sparkle and charm that drew crowds to favorite acts such as Frank Sinatra and diving horses.
Tony, Chuck and Bill Catanoso, brothers, and other business partners had been leasing and operating the pier when they purchased it for $4.3 million from Trump Entertainment Group.
Other parts of the purchase included the Catanoso’s business partner Ed Olwell and Las Vegas architect Paul Steelman.
The $21 million spent in renovations are part of a $100 million makeover of the pier.
Improvements include new rides and transforming the site into an enclosed, year-round entertainment complex by 2015.
Although the hype around the pier’s opening was focused on this weekend, Tony Catanoso said he doesn’t think the potential visitors and employees will lose steam. “We’re still excited,” he said. “They’re still going to do a big push.”
Just because the venue isn’t open, doesn’t mean officials will have the weekend off.
Seasonal employees scheduled to report to work today and Sunday will still go to the pier and will receive additional training, Catanoso said.
“We’re going to do some extra training for the new rides,” he said, adding they will also be “working out the kinks” of the pier’s anticipated opening.
In part of the push to draw visitors for a hopeful 1 million-visitor-strong summer goal, the pier was offering a buy-one-get-one-free sale. That online sale has been extended to June 1st to accommodate for the delay.
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