ATLANTIC CITY — Another reconstructed stretch of the Boardwalk has opened beyond the towering Ocean Resort Casino, welcoming foot and bike traffic to the Inlet section along the water.
On Friday afternoon, several people were jogging, running, riding bicycles and walking dogs in the sun, having been able to walk continuously from the bustling section near the casinos all the way down to the Flagship Resort.
The new section is part of a $50 million, phased endeavor that has been expected to connect the Boardwalk from Ventnor to Gardner’s Basin.
“It’s just beautiful,” said Peggy DeLuca, of Hammonton, who was walking on the Boardwalk on Friday afternoon. “It’s a new part of Atlantic City.”
This phase of the project was contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and included new protective seawall structures and two reconstructed areas of the Boardwalk that were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy: between Oriental Avenue and Grammercy Place, and from Madison Avenue to Melrose Place.
The Army Corps contracted out the work to J. Fletcher Creamer and Son for the project that cost $38.6 million total for the seawall and the Boardwalk. It included funds from the federal agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency funding and a grant from the Department of Community Affairs, officials said.
The work began in fall 2015 and wrapped up in April, Army Corps spokesman Steve Rochette said.
Now, the Boardwalk is continuous from Ventnor to the Flagship Resort, its end marked by a railing near the bulkhead just beyond the Flagship.
Mayor Frank Gilliam said the Army Corps portion of the project is finished and the Boardwalk in that area is completed for now.
But there is grant funding for more. Jim Rutala, grant writer for the city from Rutala Associates LLC, said the city has gotten grants and funding from agencies such as FEMA and the state Department of Transportation to further progress on the $50 million project.
These additional projects, which would have separate contracts, include more ramps, lighting and benches to the stretch between Oriental Avenue and Grammercy Place; building a seawall to protect the area near Caspian Point; a bike and pedestrian path to Gardner’s Basin; and improvements to Maine Avenue from Grammercy to Caspian avenues for additional parking, he said.
While the grant funding is in place for those projects, Gilliam said they are not 100 percent grant-covered and the city has to review its capital improvement budget before moving forward.
For now, construction crews on the new Boardwalk section have disappeared and visitors and residents have begun taking advantage of it.
“It’s beautiful now that it’s complete,” said Dennis Hardiman, who was running along the new boards in preparation for a half-marathon. “This inlet’s beautiful — I think Atlantic City is going to make a comeback.”
The city will celebrate the new section of Boardwalk with a ceremony May 25, according to the Mayor’s Office.