Atlantic City has the opportunity to develop a visitor-friendly eco-park that would appeal to both residents and tourists and could become a major new attraction.

Few people realize that a beautiful area exists behind Harrah's and Borgata and the land owned by MGM. This could easily be developed into an eco-park with broad appeal.

This eco-park could expose the plants, trees, animals, fish, birds and other entities that exist in our wetlands to general tourists or to those seeking to learn more about nature.

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A bike ride to Harrah's bayside brings one to a walkway alongside a creek, filled by water from the bay. A few benches are there, but little else. Across the water, on the landside, is an open area with trees, a variety of birds and some wildlife. Houses and nesting areas could be built for birds. There is also marshland where hiking trails could be developed.

Upon learning of this, I had meetings with John Palmieri, CRDA's executive director; Susan Ney Thompson, CRDA's deputy executive director; Tom Sykes, the noted architect; Tom Ballance, Borgata's president; the Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection Marilyn Lennon; and Rick Dovey, the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Director. All showed interest in providing assistance to make this a reality.

Sykes can often be seen paddling his kayak in these waters. He said that you could find fish, crabs and other marine life there.

There is a road that comes off the White Horse Pike that will be suitable for traffic to and from the area, and there is sufficient room for parking.

The walkway could be widened for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

Discussions have focused on having a flat-bottom boat with seats for 10 or 12 for tours through the creek. Paddleboats might also be available. Students from Atlantic City High School and Stockton College might be employed to handle the boats and act as guides.

All of this was discussed in the past two weeks. It is an exciting idea and, with broad support listed, it could truly become a reality. I've been led to believe it would not be a very expensive project. After the idea is examined, Palmieri said he would discuss financial support with the CRDA directors.

The only other project like this anywhere in Atlantic County is the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Many of us live on Absecon Island, but have never experienced anything like the eco-park that could be developed behind the Marina District. I truly believe that this will happen before too many months go by.

Without a doubt, it will be a wonderful new attraction. WOW!

Pinky to receive leadership award

If you were listening to Pinky's Corner last Thursday, you would have heard Izzy Posner, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism, announce that Pinky has been selected as the 2013 honoree for its Distinguished Leadership Award. Pinky is the first noncasino recipient to receive this very distinguished award. Previous winners have included Gary Loveman, Dennis Gomes and Don Marrandino. The award will be presented by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on May 10 at Stockton Seaview. The award is given to a person for many years of service and commitment to improving the quality of life in Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore. Posner said: "You will be joining some pretty impressive company-and it is well deserved."

Notes of interest

One of the best memories of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's master plan were the pictures of the bright lights along the rails of the Boardwalk. They provided a great look and were quite inviting. Since several of the casinos have put up new facades, it would help to have all the casinos on the Boardwalk brighten the rails in front of their properties. In the past, the Tropicana had strings of lights across the boards and they were quite attractive. Hopefully, others will do likewise.

One other aspect of the master plan that we are waiting to see developed is to have attractive pavilions constructed along the Boardwalk. This is an excellent concept for both visitors and residents to enjoy, and hopefully, in the not too distant future, it, too, will become a reality

A.C. salutes America's Armed Forces Parade

The third annual parade will take place 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 24. As in past years, the parade will begin at New Jersey Avenue and march down the Boardwalk to Albany Avenue. Due to sequestering, it is much more difficult to get military personnel such as the U.S. Navy band at Annapolis to come to Atlantic City. This is true even though we have transportation available, at no cost to the government.

We are anticipating the possible participation of some Tuskegee Airmen and Manford Marines. We expect to have more regular Army and National Guard troops in the line of march. At present we have the possibility of having four high school bands. Mainland, Egg Harbor Township, Cedar Creek and Oakcrest have informed us they will be a part of this outstanding event. As a result, each of the schools will receive $500 for their band's use.

Something new this year will be a civilian pilot doing some stunts over the beach to kick off the parade. This will call attention to the fact that the airshow will have its preliminary tryouts Tuesday and the full three-a-half-hour show will take place on Wednesday. More information will be forthcoming over the next month.

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