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Like Asbury Park,
Atlantic City had fallen on hard times. Resorts was the first casino to operate in Atlantic City, opening its
doors to gamblers in 1978 (Source: The Associated Press). In the eyes of many,
Atlantic City's woes were over. Actually, they had only just begun. The legalization of
gambling brought hotels, jobs, money, and most importantly, people to Atlantic City's
streets, boardwalks and beaches. In 1996, there were 13 casino-hotels in Atlantic
City. The debate will rage on as to whether casino's saved the city or not. The rich get
richer, and the poor stay poor, or as we see, can evicted from their homes in order to
make way for "progress".
second half of the 1990's, the city
agreed to demolish housing in order to build a "tunnel" from the oceanside
hotels to the marina area hotels on the bay. This was done in order to secure a deal with
Steve Wynn (another Donald Trump in the casino business). Trump calls the plan a private
driveway to Wynn's new hotel and casino to be built on the bay.
In order to accomplish
this plan (with most of the money coming from various government agencies in New Jersey),
homes will be razed.
This link includes a
memory from a former resident of Pitney Village:
(See Entries #124 & 125)
NewsPaper Articles on
Atlantic City - Proposed &
Approved $330 Million Dollar Tunnel
Published in the Asbury
Park Press 11/03/98
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ATLANTIC CITY -- Donald J. Trump has all but given up fighting it. The
irate residents whose homes stood in its way have accepted buyouts. The
only thingawaiting the boarded-up homes along Horace J. Bryant Jr. Drive
now is the bulldozer.
After almost three years of planning, lawsuits and heated public debate,
construction begins this week on a $330 million road and tunnel project
that will link the Atlantic City Expressway with the city's marina
district, where Mirage Resorts Inc. and Boyd Gaming Corp. plan casino
A groundbreaking ceremony is set for tomorrow to kick off the 2 **-year
construction project. It will also signal the end of a long, bitter
squabble among residents and casino operators divided by the plan.
Eight years after leaving Atlantic City in a huff over strict casino
regulations, Mirage Chairman Stephen A. Wynn offered to return and build a
Las Vegas-style resort -- if the state would help finance the 2.2-mile
road, 2,200 feet of which would consist of a tunnel.
"We're convinced this will redefine Atlantic City, will truly take the
place to the next level," said Richard "Skip" Bronson, president of Mirage
subsidiary New City Development Corp., referring to the tunnel and
Mirage's planned $1 billion casino.
Initially rejected by the City Council, the Atlantic City-Brigantine
Connector -- as it is formally known -- was eventually approved as a joint
venture involving Mirage, the state Department of Transportation and the
South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the expressway. The
state is to pay $220 million, Mirage $110 million.
According to Wynn, the road is needed to improve access to the marina
district site. Such public infrastructure work is typically
government's responsibility, especially when the private investment is so
large, Wynn contended.
But others, including Wynn rival Trump and Hilton Hotels Corp. casinos
chief Arthur Goldberg, call the road project a taxpayer-funded private
driveway to Mirage's casino.
The tunnel wasn't all they were angry about: The city, which had been
unable to sell the 150-acre former municipal landfill, agreed to sell it
to Mirage for $1. In exchange, Mirage is to pay $15 million to move the
city's public works garage and police firing ranges from the site.
In addition, the state passed a law guaranteeing sales tax rebates for
developers who build on the sites of former landfills, thereby providing a
tax break to Mirage.
Trump, who owns three casinos here, filed lawsuits to stop the state
funding and helped pay for a suit by Bryant Drive residents.
He wrote letters criticizing the city and state over the incentives, hired
consultants to attack the plan and complained that Mirage was getting
In a telephone interview yesterday, he would not say whether he planned
any more challenges. He still believes Mirage would have committed to its
project even without the incentives.
"They would've come without having to give away hundreds of millions of
dollars. It could've been much better for Atlantic City. They would've
without the free land, without the cleanup money, without the subsidies."
Residents, meanwhile, criticized the project as the latest example of a
casino's needs being placed before the people's needs. They said
of the tunnel would destroy one of the last stable black neighborhoods in
Ultimately, however, Lillian J. Bryant and eight other residents whose
were to be razed agreed to $200,000 buyouts by Mirage.
The squawking wasn't confined to Atlantic City. Other New Jersey
that wanted help from the state Transportation Trust Fund -- from which
million of the state share is to come -- accused the state of giving the
money away to an out-of-state casino developer.
The mayors of South Plainfield, Highland Park and New Brunswick sued. In
September 1997, Superior Court Judge L. Anthony Gibson dismissed the
saying there was a legitimate need for the project even before Mirage came
In addition to Mirage and its site partner, Boyd Gaming Corp., the
beneficiary of the road project may be the island community of Brigantine,
located just north of Atlantic City.
The road would give eastbound Route 30 traffic signal-free access onto the
Brigantine Bridge -- the only access route to the island -- and eliminate
long delays at an intersection.
"A majority of our residents work off the island," said Mayor Philip
Guenther. "We have 15,000 year-round residents and we can have 30,000
in summer. We have only one way in and out. So we're very happy for the
and we're grateful that Gov. Whitman and Sen. (William) Gormley and the
others kept Brigantine's interest in mind."
Whitman is scheduled to appear at the groundbreaking, along with Wynn and
local elected officials.
Source: Asbury Park Press
Published: November 03, 1998
SECOND of 2 Stories:
Published in the Home News Tribune
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ATLANTIC CITY -- Ground has been broken for a $330 million road and tunnel
that would aid a rival's planned casino, but Donald J. Trump is not done
The gambling mogul and developer gave notice this week that he intends to
file two more lawsuits in his effort to derail the project.
These lawsuits will charge that several agencies, including the Army Corps
Engineers and federal and state environmental authorities, violated
environmental laws by granting permits for the project, according to a
sent to the agencies Tuesday.
A gala groundbreaking, featuring Gov. Christie Whitman -- a likely
-- was held the next day.
Because government agencies are being sued, Trump is required to give at
least two months' notice before actually filing the lawsuits.
The tunnel -- formally known as the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector --
will be part of a 2.2-mile road linking the foot of the Atlantic City
Expressway with the city's marina district, where Mirage Resorts and Boyd
Gaming Corp. each plan Las Vegas-style casinos on a 150-acre site that
housed a municipal landfill.
The letter from Joe R. Reeder, lawyer for Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts
Inc., charged that the Army corps, environmental agencies and the South
Jersey Transportation Authority violated the Clean Water Act and other
in authorizing the project.
Construction of the casino hotels on the former landfill site "will
contaminants," putting workers and residents at risk, and possibly let
dangerous materials seep into an aquifer used for drinking water, Reeder
Transportation Authority spokesman Peter Hartt said yesterday, "We have no
reason to believe that this attempt will be any more successful than
Mirage Resorts Inc. Chairman Stephen A. Wynn, who attended Wednesday's
ceremony with Whitman, had prodded New Jersey to build the road, saying he
could not commit to his $1 billion, 2,000-room hotel casino without
assurances that government would improve access to the site.
Mirage ultimately agreed to pay one-third of the cost of the tunnel, with
state paying $220 million.
>From its inception, the proposal was dogged by criticism, lawsuits and
public protests -- from existing casino operators, local residents and
officials elsewhere in New Jersey who objected to the use of $95 million
the state Transportation Trust Fund in the funding formula.
Trump, who owns three Atlantic City casinos, had filed other lawsuits to
the state funding and helped pay for a suit by local residents. He said he
and other casino operators feel taxpayers were being forced to fund a
driveway for Wynn.
Wynn, who ran the city's Golden Nugget casino in the early 1980s but left
Atlantic City in 1987, has promised to build a 40-story casino with 12
restaurants, extensive retail shops and tropical gardens. Ground will be
broken for it next year, after environmental cleanup on the former
* copyright 1998 The Associated Press
Source: Home News Tribune