Garden Pier, closed for more than a year, will reopen by Labor Day with $3.3 million in improvements.
Atlantic City Public Library Director Maureen Frank and City Engineer Bill England confirmed the development.
The 99-year-old structure has a more dramatic look, with new lighting, landscaping and a veneer on its facades. Holes in the walls of the Atlantic City Historical Museum and Arts Center, located on the pier, have been patched. Both 5,400-square-foot spaces have been outfitted with new heating, air conditioning and electrical systems.
Most striking is the ocean view.
A weather-beaten fountain and crumbling amphitheater previously had allowed only glimpses of the water from within the pier. Now the pier’s open-air plaza offers a view of the ocean that eventually could provide the backdrop for an outdoor Internet cafe. That will require adding seating and free wireless web access —– both initiatives that remain under consideration, Frank said.
“I’m not sure about Wi-Fi. But we do want to make it a very inviting experience for people to visit the pier as well as the facilities on the pier,” Frank said. “We’re also planning to use the area for public programming, such as concerts.”
The library runs the museum, which will officially reopen along with the Arts Center and the rest of the pier before Labor Day on a date not yet announced, she said.
Local officials expect to pay about $200,000 annually to maintain the pier during the next decade, England said.
Assessed at $9.2 million, the pier was built in 1913. The original structure was 1,500 feet long and featured a ballroom overlooking the ocean that was washed away by “The Great Atlantic Hurricane” in 1944.
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