Atlantic City Thinks Big For Tourist Attractions

Though no specific proposals have been made, Atlantic City officials unveiled concepts for a major waterfront entertainment complex at its closed 140-acre municipal airport Bader Field (l.). The plan may or may not include new casinos, a marked departure from past plans to build as many as three casinos at the site.

Atlantic City’s closed 140-acre Bader Field Airport has been tempting the city with dreams of new development for years, from new casinos to giant amusement parks.

So once again, the city announced its vision of what it wants to see at the site. Only this time, the city hopes the new development can help turn around a fading casino resort.

While specific plans have not been completed, the city has unveiled a development framework for the site that hopes to maximize the bay-front site.

“Cities such as Venice in Italy, the canal communities of Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, and RiverWalk in San Antonio are all examples of cities that have effectively combined waterfront amenities with economic prosperity and a high quality of life for the residents,” the city’s planning staff said in the proposal.

City officials want to diversify the city’s economy away from the dominant casino industry. Though the framework would still allow for a casino on the site, it focuses more on a waterfront community with commercial development, a marina district, parklands, residential development, and entertainment facilities in addition to housing.

Past proposals for the site had included as many as three casinos. The new proposal does not explicitly say whether a casino should be built or not, but if one is placed at the site, it should be designed to develop an interconnected community, officials said.

Possible features include a marina and boat ramp; a waterfront promenade for jogging, walking and fishing; parks; a supermarket; sports fields and an indoor recreation center with basketball courts and a pool; a movie theater and restaurants; and a performing arts center, according to the Associated Press.

The city has similar plans for the also waterfront Gardner’s Basin at the opposite end of the city, where the Atlantic City Aquarium is located. Plans call for an expansion of the aquarium; an amphitheater; shopping; and a fishing pier or promenade according to the AP.