ATLANTIC CITY — Loren Garofolo remembers walking on the Boardwalk, catching her foot on an errant nail and falling.
“I just tripped and looked like an idiot,” she said.
Garofolo, 46, of Egg Harbor City, works at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and said she’s on the boards frequently for lunch breaks. She didn’t get hurt, she said, but she could imagine far worse.
“Somebody coming to the beach, it could be dangerous,” Garofolo said, “especially for children.”
She isn’t alone in imagining that worst-case scenario. On Tuesday, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority announced it will provide $500,000 for emergency repairs to the Boardwalk, which city officials say is in need of a complete overhaul at an estimated cost of $50 million.
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Board Chairman Robert Mulcahy called the Boardwalk repair money “a stop-gap measure.”
“We have a much bigger issue. We need a long-range plan for the Boardwalk,” said Mulcahy, adding the CRDA cannot fund all the needed Boardwalk renovations on its own.
“Down here (in the Tourism District), the Boardwalk is unstable in many ways,” said Mulcahy. “Since the city owns it, there might be a joint committee to look at a plan for long-range.”
On Friday, nails that weren’t flush with the boards, boards with holes and splintered sections that jutted up were apparent all over the section of Boardwalk in front of Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock.
If you ask people who walk, run or bike along them — frequently or infrequently — the dilapidation of the boards is noticeable.
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Chase George, 25, was walking the Boardwalk with his friend. The two had traveled from Havre de Grace, Maryland, for the weekend. He noticed errant nails and divots in the boards and said they looked like they could use a makeover.
“I’m sure it would (help),” George said. “I’m sure it would bring tourists, too.”
Mulcahy said it probably would be best to make repairs to sections at a time.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, City Council approved a $1.679 million ramp and lighting improvement project for the Boardwalk between Grammercy Place and Oriental Avenue.
Atlantic County Chief of Staff Howard Kyle, who is a CRDA board member, said he has walked the entire length of the older section of the Boardwalk in the Tourism District.
“There are issues that need to be addressed,” said Kyle, relating to repairs and upgrades to both the Boardwalk and public restroom buildings and facilities.
“We have identified more than 22 locations in emergent need of repairs,” said city Director of Public Works Paul Jerkins, who said there are areas that are dangerous for someone walking. “Minor repairs are no longer valid.”
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Jerkins also said the bathroom buildings need to be rebuilt.
He said city workers will undertake the repairs, worth another $500,000, and the CRDA funds will buy lumber and supplies.
“So this is really a million-dollar stop-gap measure,” said Mulcahy.
Soha Sheikh, 20, works at Steel Pier and has also tripped on nails on the Boardwalk while jogging in the mornings.
“I feel like if it was more cleaner and newer, it would attract more people for sure,” Sheikh said. “As someone who comes often, I feel like it would definitely help me a lot. If it was more cleaner, I would feel safer. … I don’t have to worry about tripping or, like, nails or anything.”