FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Grants from Several State Agencies Will Fund Renovations to Maritime Park

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the City of Atlantic City today announced that significant renovations are coming to Gardner’s Basin, a maritime park located along Absecon Inlet, and the Atlantic City Aquarium, which is located in the park. Approximately $3.6 million in funding from state agencies will fund the renovations, which could get underway as early as this fall. 

The funding and upcoming renovations are part of the City’s all-out effort to improve the family-friendly park and aquarium and enhance it as a visitor destination beyond the boardwalk, casinos, and tourism district. 

“Gardner’s Basin and the Atlantic City Aquarium are incredible assets for Atlantic City on a variety of levels. They provide tourism options beyond the casinos and the beaches, they offer an authentic sense of place, and they can be a catalyst to attract new residents, many of whom want access to parks, nature, and recreation,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “For all these reasons, it is important that we invest to make the park and aquarium first-class facilities for residents and visitors alike.”  

“The improvement of Gardner’s Basin is a high priority and now the City has secured $3.6 million to make it a reality,” said City of Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. “In a few months, the boardwalk will be connected to Gardner’s Basin for the first time ever. The last phase of this project is to make the Basin and aquarium wonderful destinations.” 

Funding is coming from a $1.6 million grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), a $1 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Green Acres Program, and $1 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds administered by DCA. 

The Green Acres grant will be used for park improvements, including restroom renovations, parking improvements, new LED lighting, a public address system, maintenance renovations, Wi-Fi, electric vehicle charging stations, and other upgrades. 

About 20 percent of the CRDA grant will be used to match the Green Acres grant. The remainder of the grant will fund a new roof; electrical and HVAC improvements; window replacements; flooring; exhibits; and gift shop renovations at the Atlantic City Aquarium. It has been almost 20 years since any major repairs have occurred at the aquarium. 

The CDBG-DR funds, which the State of New Jersey received from the federal government in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, will repair a section of the bulkhead in Gardner’s Basin that is collapsing into the water, creating pedestrian risks and contributing to regular flooding. The funding will also be used to dredge the Basin’s marina to enable stormwater drainage.  

More than $50 million has been invested in rehabilitating and building the boardwalk in the Absecon Inlet area and connecting it to Gardner’s Basin. The boardwalk project should be finished by this summer. The City hopes to begin work on the Basin and aquarium projects in the fall and have them completed by spring 2021. 

Gardner’s Basin is home to waterfront dining, shopping, marinas, the aquarium, and other water-dependent uses. It was established in 1976 to provide waterfront recreational access to the public, conduct marine education programs for the youth and adult eco-tour groups, and to advance maritime historical preservation. The Atlantic City Aquarium opened in 1999 in the Basin.  

The City attracted grant funds for the boardwalk from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Department of Transportation, DEP, and DCA. Rutala Associates, a local planning firm, helped secure these grants for both the boardwalk and Gardner’s Basin on behalf of the City.


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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan

(609) 292-6055

Atlantic City:
Office of the Mayor
(609) 347-5400