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Atlantic City Announces Infrastructure Improvements

Atlantic City Announces Infrastructure Improvements!  While Atlantic City’s casino’s may be fighting to stay competitive, which has some residents concerned over the future of the southern New Jersey hotspot, the local and state government have been investing an endless supply of capital into the city’s infrastructure. According to the Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGC of America) New Jersey branch Atlantic City will receive over $60 million in infrastructure improvements designed to protect the cities roads, buildings and walkways from flooding. The investment was announced by the city’s Planning Director Elizabeth Terenik on the 25th of July and should provide local contractors with plenty of employment opportunities over the next few months.

After laying out the details of the project at a monthly public forum at the Atlantic City Free Public Library Terenik seemed ecstatic about the news.

“It’s great news, because investing in infrastructure is necessary for any economic growth we experience,” the director said in a statement to Press of Atlantic City.

Projects Announced

Listed below are a few of the projects announced by the AGC of America from the largest investment to the smallest.

  • $50 million to reinforce the seawall and boardwalk from Rhode Island Avenue to Gardner’s Basin
  • $6.3 million to restore the Baltic Avenue Canal which currently runs underground from Rhode Island Avenue to Georgia Avenue
  • $4.8 million will be invested in a flood mitigation project at the Sunset Avenue Bulkhead
  • $1.7 million in boardwalk improvements by the Public Works Department
  • $1.1 million to pave Maryland Avenue from Brigantine Blvd. to Pacific Avenue
  • $1 million to pave Arctic Avenue from Indiana Ave to Delaware Ave
  • $964,000 to pave Pacific Avenue
  • $450,000 for a flood mitigation project at Massachusetts Avenue
  • $289,000 to pave Marmora Avenue from Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd to Pacific Ave
  • $276,200 to pave Pacific Avenue
  • $200,000 stabilization project of the waterfront at South Boulevard (Chelsea Heights)
  • $200,000 in repairs to the Flood Texas Avenue Bulkhead

Other projects were listed, but we were unable to get investment numbers for those projects. Be sure to keep your eyes on the developments in Atlantic City as there should be plenty of employment opportunities over the next few months.

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Atlantic City Airport to Receive Vital Improvements from FAA

The money just keeps flowing down to Atlantic City this month as another transportation project has been approved for America’s Favorite Playground. But, this time the improvements aren’t coming on the boardwalk or in the form of improved roadways and casinos. This time it’s coming to the city effort in an effort to drive more traffic to southern New Jersey. The $1.8 million dollar renovation will assist in taxiway rehabilitation as well as a few reconstruction projects at Atlantic City International Airport (ACY). There’s just one more thing. The funding isn’t coming from the state or local governments, it’s not even coming from the South Jersey Transportation Authority. It’s coming from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Why is the FAA Investing in ACY?

While the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) does have some say over the direction of the airport it is not the primary owner of land at the airport. The FAA controls most of it after the city sold 4,312 acres of the airport to the federal government. The FAA will continue to control the airport grounds until it no longer has a use for it in which case, ownership will revert back to the SJTA.

Since the FAA owns a majority of the airport it was only a matter of time before it was included under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The AIP, according to the FAA website, provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). NPIAS airports are those deemed by the government as those airports that act as critical hubs for travel around the nation. So, though the SJTA owns the airport the FAA owns the land and has a vested interest in making sure ACY is running both efficiently and safely.

A Hub Long Neglected

When the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (the organization that oversees the operations at the airport) announced their 10-year, $27.6 billion capital plan the Atlantic City International Airport was surprisingly omitted. No funding would have been a major setback not only for the airport but also the region of Southern New Jersey that relies on the airport as a major transportation hub. When the FAA announced that the airport would be receiving vital improvements local politicians and SJTA officials were overjoyed.

“We are pleased to learn of the award. These investments help the airport maintain its state of excellence,” stated SJTA interim executive director Frank Frankowski.

Hopefully, with some further FAA investment and some help from local and federal contractors the airport can continue to be a major transportation hub and economic asset for the region. Atlantic City could use it.

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Vineland Roadway Redesign Sparks Debate

You wouldn’t think it by looking at it, but Chestnut Ave in Vineland, New Jersey can be a trying ride for drivers. The roadway has been enough of a problem for residents that the city’s politicians have proposed a plethora of changes to old Route 47, in an effort to make the 2.3 mile stretch of road a bit safer.

The city has expressed interest in converting the area between Main Road and Delsea drive from four lanes to two. They have also proposed a center turning lanes, bicycle lanes, traffic signal upgrades, and a roundabout. A speed limit change could also be in the mix, according to Jennifer Marandino of the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization. The speed limit is currently 40mph.

“I am sure they are going faster than that, “stated Marandino.

With approximately 14,000 to 16,000 vehicles traversing the roadway every day, something has to be done to regulate motorists. Besides the speed limit, the roundabout and synchronized traffic signals should increase driver safety. Synchronized traffic signals will reduce the potential for drivers to speed, while the small roundabout will regulate traffic by yield signs.

While many support the proposed redesign, not all of Vineland’s residents are convinced. Craig Platania, one of those residents, believes that the changes to Chestnut Avenue are ridiculous. In an article for The Daily Journal, Platania rails against the redesign.

“Do the people proposing this live or drive in Vineland? “ states Platania, “Have you driven Delsea Drive from Milville to Landis Avenue and witnessed the drivers who have no clue how to use a center turning lane, or any other roadway in Vineland, which has the same traffic pattern?”

He has a point. With tens of thousands of drivers navigating the roadway every day, it may not be the best idea to condense traffic into two lanes. All of the proposed changes could make Chestnut Avenue even less safe, but that decision will be left up to the Federal Highway Administration.

Vineland’s City Council will vote to apply for money from the Administration next Tuesday. Current predictions estimate that the project will cost approximately $500,000. A relatively small amount, but enough to provide employment for at least a few contractors.

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US DOE Combats Climate Change With NJ Wind Farm

Devastating tornadoes. Rising flood waters. Horrifying superstorms. Extreme variations in temperature.

Such events are typical in Hollywood disaster films these days (check out The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 (but don’t actually check-out 2012)). We very rarely associate these events with the world we live in, but they happen more often than we think.

The National Climate Assessment stated that, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.”

Many climatologists believe that a key contributor to these extreme weather conditions has to do with a pairing of our lifestyle choices and the naturally oscillating nature of our climate. There are websites dedicated to showing people their ecological footprint, and what you may find may surprise you. My Ecological Footprint measures how many Earth’s you would need if everyone on Earth lived the same as you. It’s a little jarring to know that it would take 3.4 Earths to support me. We only have one, how on Earth am I supposed to change my lifestyle significantly enough to reduce that number to one planet? It’s nearly impossible, but it can be done, and with sustainable projects like windfarms, solar panels, and geothermal heating, it may be possible to continue living in comfort.

The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE)  just recently announced a grant award to a coalition of developers looking to construct a wind farm off the Atlantic City coast, which will generate enough electricity to power 10,000 homes, and will drastically reduce the city’s carbon footprint. The five wind turbines will be located 2.8 miles off the coast, and it will be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. So far, the U.S. DOE has awarded Fishermen’s Energy (the developers behind the project) with $47 million dollars (roughly a third of what it will cost to build and install the turbines and their components).

This project has the potential not only to lower Atlantic City’s carbon footprint and push us towards a more sustainable future, but it will also be an opportunity for contractors to help build that future. Fishermen’s Energy hopes to complete the project by 2017 with an estimated budget of $188 million, so there will be plenty of time to aid the development of the wind farm.

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Tropicana Atlantic City Casino Announces $35 Million Renovation

Atlantic City Casino’s just aren’t getting the same business they used to, and they’ve noticed. With casinos popping up all over New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut over the past decade, New Jersey’s gaming market has continued to slide. But they’re not going down without a fight.

Tropicana’s Atlantic City casino has announced a $35 million multi-phase project that would involve converting a storage building into a two-story health and fitness center, and transforming the currently unimpressive boardwalk façade into a dazzling array of lights and sounds. The resort will also look to renovate more than 400 of their hotel rooms.

New Jersey lawmakers from the Casino Redevelopment Authority (CRDA) have also proposed to contribute approximately $19 million in state funding to get the project underway. Such an influx of capital could prompt construction to begin this fall and would reach completion by the end of 2015.

“We are excited about the prospect of creating and investing in these innovative renovations,” Tony Rodio, Tropicana Entertainment’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. He also elaborated that, “projects like these provide us with the opportunity to create new experiences and enhance the comfort of our guests.”

By far the most visible change, at least to the public, will be Tropicana’s new boardwalk façade. Nine LED screens will rise far above the pavement in front of the casino, and will be supplemented with an interactive display that will be projected by 20-foot-high light-projecting bollards.

The Tropicana Atlantic City Casino won’t be the only part of Atlantic City that’s getting a major facelift. The CRDA has granted a $30 million loan for a $60 million apartment building, whose main investor is none other than Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq’s developer, Boraie Development, will receive the loan when the firm secures the rest of the money for the project. Most of the capital will come from sales tax rebates leveraged against Revel Casino for their development project in the South Inlet.

With the state’s deadline for improvements in Atlantic City tourism and resort revenue becoming increasingly more menacing, those businesses that are looking to renovate or expand should consider doing so sooner rather than later.