Ocean Casino Resort Trucks in Sand, Rebuilds Beachfront Ahead of Memorial Day

Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort is betting on its beach by investing $700,000 to rebuild a badly eroded beachfront before the summer season kicks off. Work on the shorefront began last week and is expected to wrap up in time for Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month.

Chronic erosion at the coastal resort has been causing the beach to shrink. Before Ocean Resort began work, the beach was as little as five feet wide in places. But, once complete, visitors will have a new 110-foot-wide beachscape to stretch out on.

While other Atlantic City casinos have been leaning heavily on online casino offerings, Ocean’s focus has been firmly on retail since it opened in 2012. Its resort is the newest and most luxurious in the city.

Although Ocean has an online casino license, it hosts only smaller brands: its own Ocean Online Casino, Parx, PlayStar and Tipico.

Coastal Erosion Forces Action to Protect Beach

According to Bill Callahan, the casino’s general manager, Ocean can’t afford to wait for the next publicly-funded beach replenishment. The wait would have been one to two years, which might have made it too late to save the beach.

Callahan recounted a moment last fall, walking with several other casino officials. He said that they remarked at how little sand was left and felt a sense of urgency to do something.

Callahan told media he feared they’d lose the beach at that point.

That would be a horrible guest experience. An unbelievable $2.5 billion resort with no beach? We just couldn’t have that.

Ocean’s Private Investment May Be Atlantic City First

In response, Ocean secured the necessary permits (state and federal) to counter the erosion and complete the upgrades independently.

It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for private companies to undertake self-funded beach improvements, said Stephen Rochette, a US Army Corps of Engineers spokesman.

Indeed, when they can, most are happy to wait for government-funded intervention. Local, state, and federal governments share the replenishment cost in those cases.

It’s possible, said insiders, this is the first time an Atlantic City casino has paid to refurbish its beachfront.

New Ocean Casino Beachfront Ready for Memorial Day Weekend

Ryan Burch, Ocean’s Vice President of Hotel Operations, described what the replenishment entails.

He said the beach enhancement would add 12,810 tons of sand to the critically eroded shoreline. Workers are bringing sand by truck from Eagleswood Township. The source of the sand was specially selected to match the color and grain of the existing beach.

Once on site, crews will smooth the sand and prepare the new, improved beach. Ocean expects to complete most of the work this weekend. It will then have another week to put on the finishing touches before Memorial Day.

Project Manager Ian Jerome said that erosion is a particular problem for Ocean. According to him, the section of beach in front of the resort has been the most erosion-prone spot on all of Abescon Island, the land Atlantic City is built on.

Past efforts at beach widening by the government have failed. Jerome said the minimum time between such refurbishments is three years, yet the work sometimes hasn’t even held up for one.

However, if Ocean’s beachfront deteriorates again and requires additional intervention, it will get it, said Callahan.

This is part of the experience. You can’t have a resort without a beach.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, adventure, and hoppy beer.
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