ATLANTIC CITY — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started replenishing the beaches in the resort this week, but local business owners say the timing could have been better.
“The beach needed it desperately, but do it at a date or time that is the off-season,” said Nicholas Dounoulis, owner of the Bungalow Restaurant, Lounge and Beach Bar.
The affected beaches are between Belle-vue and Sovereign avenues.
The replenishment is part of a $63.3 million project to place 3.8 million cubic yards of sand on eight miles of beach on Absecon Island, from Atlantic City to Longport.
Bungalow gets most of its business from the beach bar and Boardwalk, Dounoulis said.
“It ruined our weekend. I think it was around 50 percent, 52 percent from what we had last week,” he said.
Farther along the beach, where construction was actively taking place Tuesday, the Chelsea Beach Bar was empty. A manager said the outdoor bar is usually packed in the early afternoon.
“We’re happy with the decision, but the timing is wrong,” manager Adam Frost said.
On the Boardwalk, the manager at Eats and Treats at the Ritz said business has been declining every year for the past five or six years, and he doesn’t think the beach replenishment will affect his business too much more.
“(The beach replenishment) doesn’t bother us because it is protecting the city,” Omar Farooq said.
The beach replenishment project came as a surprise to visitors.
“We knew about Margate and all the problems going on down there,” said Ron Chrupcala. “We came down to go to the beach, not knowing the fact that coming down here, this is what we’re facing.”
Chrupcala is vacationing from West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, and said they and have not been able to go to the beach because of the replenishment project and Monday’s rain.
“I just think they should let people know,” he said. “It’s a bad time of the year to be doing this. We’re here so we’re going to make the best of it.”