Ivelisse Trinidad can see who is coming at her on the Atlantic City Boardwalk — and that makes her feel safer.
“Who’s going to rob you here?” the 22-year-old city resident and casino worker asked. “Everybody can see you.”
New lights are brightening up the nightlife on the Boardwalk, which many said is a safety improvement from the past.
“It used to be yellow, and it would make it dark,” Trinidad said of the old lights. “It’s a lot brighter now.”
Brighter lights are just one of many improvements to the Boardwalk the city and Tourism District officials are making this year in anticipation of the high volume of visitors to the resort this summer.
City workers from the Beach and Boardwalk Division completed installing the new lights along the Boardwalk from New Jersey to Albany avenues in March. Another set is planned for the stretch between Roosevelt Place and Jackson Avenue. Lights north of Rhode Island also are slated for replacement.
Sham Shad Khan, a supervisor at the Peanut World Co. retailer on the Boardwalk, said the night lights have brought more foot traffic to the area.
“The lighting is beautiful,” he said. “It looks nice and safe. Because of the lights, you’re not scared to walk on the Boardwalk.”
Khan said he believed in the Boardwalk improvements.
“These little things help a lot to bring people onto the Boardwalk,” he said.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, a state agency with oversight over the Tourism District, said it has plans to add 15 showers along the Boardwalk by the beach patrol and comfort stations. The showers will be encased in fiberglass and made with stainless steel parts. People showering will be able to get 60 seconds of water for every push, according to the authority. Installation is scheduled for late July, spokeswoman Kim Butler said.
Litter also will have a new home as the authority rolls out new trash and recycling receptacles. More than 300 new receptacles have been added to the Boardwalk with plans to add 100 new ones every two weeks for a total of more than 900 by Sept. 30, according to the authority.
Cleaning under the Boardwalk continues with the authority now picking up the work. About 2,100 bags of trash were removed during May between the city’s property lines and beach sand dunes, according to the authority, which added the clean-up crew is working daily.
In conjunction with that work, two social workers also are available on an on-call basis should they be needed to help with the homeless population, Butler said. Additionally, the authority hired two chaplains as Boardwalk Ambassadors, giving them the responsibility of checking under the Boardwalk and interacting with the homeless, she said. The Ambassadors are a recent addition to the Boardwalk primarily meant to help resort visitors.
Meanwhile, the city’s Beach and Boardwalk Division is making repairs of its own. Last week, workers were replacing the ramp leading to the Boardwalk by the Plaza Apartment complex near Montgomery and Tallahassee avenues. That work is on schedule to finish in time for the Fourth of July.
“We’re putting in new joists and new decking,” said Joseph Cook, the division supervisor.
The underside of the 150-feet ramp had rotted out and was in need of replacement, according to George Tittermary, the supervising carpenter.
The Fourth of July also is the day the Atlantic City Alliance, a marketing agency funded by the casino industry, will unveil its new 3-D light show by Boardwalk Hall. The show is expected to become a year-round Boardwalk attraction and was described as possibly the only permanent 3-D show in the country.
Nearby to the Boardwalk, plans are being developed to transform 10 vacant lots into small parks during the summer and fall, according to the authority. The work will start July 9 with the lot by Atlantic Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard followed by the parcel by Maryland and Pacific avenues and later the one by Kentucky and Pacific avenues, according to the authority.
But while the present and planned changes have some retailers optimistic that will lead to more business, others said they are struggling.
“Maybe it brings (people) to the Boardwalk but we do not see anything,” said Tony Chaudhry, a Boardwalk gift shop owner. “It’s going to be a bad year.”
He said he started the season optimistic but his hopes that the opening of Revel would mean more business for him hasn’t come true.
“It didn’t help,” Chaudhry said. “It’s difficult to survive.”
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