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Mayor Marty Small Sr. wants less noise and trash at SeaWall park in Atlantic City

Mayor Marty Small Sr. wants less noise and trash at SeaWall park in Atlantic City

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ATLANTIC CITY — Mayor Marty Small, Sr. does not want to shut down a popular gathering area along the seawall in Historic Gardner’s Basin, but he said he needs the people who hang out there to do a better job of keeping the noise down and cleaning up the place.

Small held a community meeting there at 9 p.m. Tuesday to discuss noise complaints that came in after Father’s Day weekend.

“The amount of calls that my office got yesterday (Monday) was unprecedented. I stayed in the office until 5:30 p.m. taking calls, talking to residents, about the happenings that went on up here this weekend,” said Small, who started his Tuesday night talk sitting in a lawn chair before standing up.

At 2:30 a.m., there were fireworks and loud music coming from the William “Bill” Demones Jr. Atlantic City Seawall Fishing Complex, and the city noise ordinance is set at 10 p.m., Small said.

Small reminded his audience of dozens of people that the seawall is part of a residential area where the noise from there can be heard in nearby Harbour Pointe, The Cove and Bungalow Park.

“It’s been out of control. Each and everyone of you out here know it,” said Small, who added he didn’t care who is doing it but that it has to stop. “This is a community. You have people who pay taxes in the neighborhood, and it’s a nuisance.”

If the complaints and problems continue, Small said he will be forced to either close the seawall completely or close it at 10 p.m.

“We don’t want to do that,” said Small, who added he wants seawall users to comply with the city’s noise ordinance.

The attraction of the seawall is that it is a relatively isolated place in the northern end of the city.

A public space, there is no cost to be there or to park, and there are plenty of parking spaces. In that regard, the spot is similar to The Cove in Brigantine, a popular waterfront area accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles and boats.

Complaints of overcrowding, noise and trash there last summer led to a reduction in permits and stricter enforcement.

Along Atlantic City’s seawall, the breeze comes off the water on a warm summer night and draws long-time resort residents, who unpack tents, cook out, play music and socialize. Those who spoke to Small on Tuesday said a younger crowd that’s discovered the area is to blame for the recent complaints.

Small’s solution Tuesday was to ask users of the area to form a committee that could report on what happens there. The committee would not be just for detailing problems at the seawall, but it also could tell him what could be improved.

“Y’all are saying, ‘It’s not us,’ but y’all are out here every day. You can’t let anyone come up here and mess it up,” Small said.

Pictures of the trash on the ground at the seawall after Father’s Day made it onto Facebook, but Small said those pictures were put on social media to embarrass him during election season.

Small is a candidate in the July 7 primary to be the Democratic nominee for mayor against Pamela Thomas-Fields and Jimmy Whitehead. Thomas J. Forkin will be his challenger as he is running unopposed on the Republican line.

“The seawall is not going anywhere. This is the city’s park. We are investing in this park. As you have seen, the seawall improve over the years, I got $3.7 million to improve the interior, exterior, new bathrooms, everything, so the seawall is not going anywhere,” said Small, who received applause from attendees for that statement.

Maurice “Monk” Marshall, 49, said he may volunteer to be on the committee. He has been coming to the seawall for at least the last 10 years. Now, he is up to visiting five times a week from 3 p.m. to either 7 or 8 p.m.

“All my friends are here. We talk, fish, play music,” Marshall said. “We eat, laugh and joke.”

Contact: 609-272-7202

VJackson@pressofac.com

Twitter@ACPressJackson

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