Revel finally has a beach, but no ocean.
In a strange twist of events, even though Revel’s beach opened Friday for the first time all summer, the ocean waters in front of the $2.4 billion megacasino remain off-limits to bathers.
“So even if we go out on the beach, we have to go to another beach to swim?” Revel guest Nancy Warriner asked quizzically.
Yes, that’s right.
Atlantic City officials said submerged rocks left over from a beach construction project must be removed or covered over with sand before bathers are allowed in the water in front of Revel. For now, conditions are too dangerous for swimming between New Jersey and Massachusetts avenues, explained Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Rod Aluise.
“We’re restricting bathing until they get all of the rocks cleaned up,” Aluise said of the construction contractor.
How long that will take remains unclear, Aluise said. In the meantime, Revel’s guests who want to take a dip in the ocean will have to walk a block south to the Delaware Avenue beach in front of Showboat Casino Hotel.
Aluise and Beach Patrol Capt. David Russo were busy early Friday afternoon attaching red signs on a safety fence that blocked off Revel’s beach from the ocean. The signs said “Bathing” and used an arrow to point people in the direction of the Delaware Avenue beach.
Warriner, who was trying to enjoy the last day of a two-night stay at Revel, was not pleased with the prospect of having to trek to another beach for swims.
“I’m not happy. We have been waiting since yesterday for them to open the beach up and now we find out we won’t be able to swim here,” said Warriner, of Washington Crossing, Pa.
Warriner’s friend, Susan Natale, of Yardley, Pa., tried making light of the situation.
“I guess we’ll just have to suffer at the pool,” Natale joked.
Kevin DeSanctis, Revel’s chief executive officer, said he would prefer if his guests could frolic in the surf, but he added that their safety is paramount. He noted that Revel is preparing to launch a series of beach-themed events next week, including parties, surfing lessons, hula lessons and volleyball games.
“It would be nice if they could swim,” DeSanctis said of Revel’s beachgoers. “But we have the beach back. It’s close. At least it gives us the ability to get on the beach.”
Revel’s beachfront had been closed down all summer for a state Department of Environmental Protection construction project. Crews are rebuilding two ocean jetties to prevent the beach sand from being swept out to sea during coastal storms. Heavy construction equipment and gigantic boulders that are being used to strengthen the jetties had occupied Revel’s beach until Wednesday.
DEP officials gave approval for the beach to reopen Wednesday. However, the city wanted additional safety measures put into place, including the fence that cuts off access to the ocean, DeSanctis said. It was not until about 1 p.m. Friday that the beach was reopened.
Until the all-clear was given, the white umbrellas and royal-blue lounge chairs neatly arranged on the beach by Revel’s staff went unused Friday morning. With no swimmers to protect, a lifeguard stand on Revel’s beach remains empty.
Aluise said the city was following DEP regulations and had kept the beach closed until Friday at the state’s recommendation. But the DEP insisted the city had acted alone in closing the beach an extra two days.
“The issue of reopening the beach is up to Atlantic City,” DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said. “It’s Atlantic City’s beach, and it’s their decision. We did the work. We cleared it out. We have things set aside. The construction equipment is off to the side. So it’s their beach, and it’s up to them.”
Ragonese said some questions had been raised whether there was a design defect with the DEP’s $8.4 million beach project. He denied there were any problems. Parts of the project will continue on other beaches next to Revel through the summer.
“There is not a defect,” Ragonese said. “Time is needed for sand to cover rocks embedded in front of the shoreline. It’s a natural process. When the city and its lifeguards feel the situation is safe, they will open the water to bathers. I am sure they are assessing the situation from a safety point of view. DEP does not have a role at this point, other than to continue the jetty project to completion.”
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