ATLANTIC CITY — The redevelopment of Stanley Holmes Village will begin in early 2023, said Tom Hannon, executive director of the city’s housing authority.
During an authority meeting Thursday evening, Hannon updated commissioners and fellow authority members on the project that’s been nearly two years in the making.
The public housing project will begin after the choice neighborhood process, which included a two-year, $450,000 planning grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, is completed in December 2022, Hannon said.
The planning grant, which was awarded to the authority in December 2020, will allow the authority to create a redevelopment plan for the village and the Westside neighborhood.
In May 2019, the authority selected Michaels Organization, of Camden, as its co-development partner for the project.
City Council recently approved a land exchange agreement for the authority to receive two large parcels in the inlet section of the resort.
Residents of Stanley Holmes Village will be relocated to these parcels while many of the original units are demolished.
Hannon said that once the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approves the transfer of a parcel of land the Housing Authority owns on Massachusetts Avenue, a closing will be quickly arranged and work will begin on what he called “Stanley Jr.”
CRDA is set to discuss the transfer at a meeting April 20.
The 420-unit village on Adriatic Avenue was built in 1937 and expanded in 1951, making it the oldest public housing complex in New Jersey.
Talks of redeveloping the property have been on the table for years along with constant complaints from residents about the conditions of the units.
During Thursday’s meeting, Councilman Kaleem Shabazz asked the board to directly address the complaints of mold, heat and hot water and rodents.
“I think that we need to have a concentrated effort to make sure that we bring the living conditions in Stanley up to par,” Shabazz said. “I see the area, I know the area and I know we can do better.”
Hannon said the authority has distributed fliers with contact information for residents with complaints.
“We have distributed a flier to all residents giving them opportunity to call into the choice neighborhood hotline, giving them the opportunity to email us about issues of the conditions that are in their units right now,” Hannon said. “I think that is the most efficient and best way to address the individual concerns of residents.”
Hannon said the authority will address emergency situations within 24 hours and urgent complains within 48 hours.
“What’s important for everyone to note is one of the unfortunate effects of pandemic and quarantine is the fact that we have not been allowed to do inspections at any of our units,” Hannon said. “That’s typically an opportunity that management has to find out what’s going on in the units. ... We hope to have those inspections restarted sooner rather than later.”
ATLANTIC CITY — When Vashon Brock was a young boy and the weather was nice, his grandmother would buy him breakfast before taking him to school. The two would sit along the sea wall and eat, and watch the high school rowing team make its way through the back bays.
“As a kid, I remember I loved that,” said Brock, now 22. “I wanted to do that and be on the water.”
So he did, joining the Atlantic City High School crew team and going on to row at Stockton University where he is a senior. Now, Brock hopes he can instill that same enthusiasm in a new group of young people in the city as a coach for Stockton’s Youth Rowing Program for middle school-age students this summer.
The program will be open to 40 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. For six weeks in June and July, three hours a day, four days a week, the students will learn the skills needed to row competitively.
Stockton head rowing coach John Bancheri, also an Atlantic City High School graduate, said it was his dream to bring a successful youth rowing program to his hometown.
Nobody was better at finding the back of the net than Diego Rossi of Los Angeles FC a season ago. Alejandro Pozuelo is the reigning league MVP in Toronto and nobody was better in goal than Philadelphia’s Andre Blake.
“From us to Atlantic City High School. From Atlantic City High School to wherever,” Bancheri said. “Obviously, I’m going to prefer Stockton.”
Bancheri has been coaching rowing for over 30 years and came “home” to Stockton in 2019. He said he knows he isn’t reinventing the wheel with a youth rowing camp, but he wants to build community backing and see the program grow.
“Former coaches at Atlantic (City) High, they all tried doing the program in the past with some level of success, but there really wasn’t the institutional support or the community support it takes to maintain a program like that over the long haul,” he said. “Any organization, you need a lot of support to make things happen.”
So far, the youth rowing program has many supporters, including founding board members Lynne Kesselman, a 1982 Stockton alumnus and wife of President Harvey Kesselman, Ellen Farber, Walter Johnson, Joseph Maguire, Kevin McHugh, Linda Novelli, Patricia Perry, Bernadette Ritzel, John Rosado and Steven Strauss.
Bancheri said the program is a bit selfish — creating a strong youth feeder program could certainly help Stockton in the long run, but also it’s about the college doing its part as a member of the Atlantic City community.
“If they go off to a college, fantastic. If not, but it gave them another option in life, an experience, that’s fantastic, too,” he said. “For me it’s a homecoming, is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I left here when I was 18 and I came back at 59 with a lot of experience and I was hoping to share what I can to an area that gave me so much.”
Brock said rowing has taught him so much, too — not just how to move a boat fast across the water, but how to work with others, how to care for very expensive equipment and how to carry yourself in public.
“There’s definitely a lot of life skills,” he said.
The team becomes a family because every person plays an important role on the boat, and the members of the team must work as a cohesive unit to be successful.
Brock and some of his teammates from the men’s and women’s teams at Stockton were at the Chelsea Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City on a recent afternoon with a shell and some rowing machines to give the youngsters some insight into the sport.
“I thought it was really cool,” said 9-year-old Elianny Ramos-Sanchez. Although she will be too young for the camp this year, she said she looks forward to participating in future years.
Like Brock, Ramos-Sanchez said she often sees the rowing teams from Atlantic City and Stockton practicing on the water, and it intrigues her. The thought that getting a scholarship for participating in the sport adds incentive.
“That will help a lot in the future for us,” she said.
Ivan Garcia, 13, of Atlantic City, also hopes to be a part of the camp this summer. Garcia said he liked looking at the boats and thinks the camp would give him good experience when he gets to high school.
Bancheri said the program is still raising funds for this summer and they are about a third of the way toward their goal of $60,000.
For more information, to make a donation or to fill out an interest form, visit stockton.edu/ athletics/summer-youth-rowing-program.html.
ATLANTIC CITY — New Jersey’s casino and sports betting revenue more than doubled in March compared to a year ago — but that’s because the emerging pandemic shut down casinos for the second half of the month last year.
Figures released Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the nine casinos and three horse tracks that offer sports betting won $359.2 million in March.
That’s an increase of nearly 120%, but no one in the industry is dancing in the streets just yet. The biggest reason for the statistical increase is the fact that the casinos and tracks were open for a full month this March; last year, Gov. Phil Murphy shut them down March 16 due to the virus.
The casinos and tracks handled $859.6 million worth of sports bets in March, compared with the less than $182 million they handled last March. They kept $60.7 million this March as sports betting revenue after paying out winning bets and covering other expenses.
James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said a more reasonable comparison would be to March 2019, a year before the pandemic took full hold. By that measure, the casinos increased their revenue this March by over 18%.
The skewed comparison made for some unusual percentage increases in March: Both Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City posted identical 178.2% increases compared to a year ago. Borgata won $89 million, while Hard Rock won $38 million.
Hard Rock President Joe Lupo said his casino was up 25% in terms of money won inside its brick-and-mortar casino compared to March 2019; Atlantic City as a whole was down 17% in the comparable period, he said.
He also cited ongoing challenges the casinos face from the pandemic, including limits on how many guests they can accommodate, and a temporary ban on all indoor smoking.
“Obviously, COVID, the occupancy restrictions in place and smoking ban are negatively affecting the market’s ability to fully rebound,” Lupo said.
Ocean Casino Resort was up 151.3% to $23.8 million; Resorts Casino Hotel was up 127.5% to $12.7 million; Caesars Atlantic City was up 95.3% to $18.5 million; Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City was up 83.1% to $17.8 million; and Tropicana Atlantic City was up 73.3% to $26.8 million.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City was up nearly 57% to just under $11 million, and Bally’s Atlantic City more than doubled its revenue to over $10 million.
The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford was the runaway leader in sports betting revenue, accounting for more than half the state’s total with $31.3 million. At the other end of the spectrum, Freehold Raceway reported less than $131,000 in sports betting revenue.
Internet gambling continued to be popular in New Jersey in March, with nearly $113.7 million in revenue for operators, up 75% from a year ago. That is notable because gamblers started turning to internet betting in larger numbers in the second half of March 2020 after the physical casinos closed.
The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating allegations of sexual harassment from members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
The allegations were made from a new Instagram account, @ocbp_predators. In the description of the account, the owner asks users to privately message them about their experiences so they can be anonymously shared with the public.
As of Friday afternoon, the page had more than 100 posts of users detailing incidents of sexual harassment and assault during their time in or around the Beach Patrol. The posts appear solely as text, presumably copied from the messages received with names blocked out. The account had grown to more than 3,000 followers within two days.
City spokesperson Doug Bergen said the city was made aware of the account when it was created Wednesday. Bergen said the city has “strict sexual harassment policies and procedures in place and acts immediately on every complaint.”
Additionally, Mayor Jay Gillian has directed fire Chief Jim Smith to “build on existing policies and do whatever it takes to ensure employees feel safe coming forward.”
“I want to continue to make sure all our city team members work in a safe environment,” Gillian said.
Attempts were made to contact the administrator of the Instagram account, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Beach Patrol.
Investigators urge anyone with information or who has been a victim to contact the Prosecutor’s Office at 609-465-1135, report it anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriff’s Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net (click on “anonymous tip”), or call Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-889-3597.