Historic Gardner’s Basin Might Get Management Upgrade

Will Atlantic City Council let private management take over and improve Historic Gardner’s Basin? We think so, as AC looks to find professionals to profitably run our unique assets.

Council may soon request bids for maintenance and operation of  Historic Gardner’s Basin, 22 acres of scenic waterfront that features the AC Aquarium, Back Bay Ale House, Gilchrist, and a host of other insanely awesome attractions like fishing, boating, retail shops and para-sailing.

Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz was the sponsor of this smart, Historic Gardner’s Basin resolution.

To date, Gardner’s Basin has been meekly managed by the nonprofit entity known as the Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation. The city funds Historic Gardner’s Basin with about $200,000 a year. ‘That may soon have to stop’, says Shabazz.

FYI: This back-bay land can’t be sold or leased. Green Acres rules and regulations prohibit that. While we’re at it, why not get some professionals to ‘manage and run’ the Boardwalk, beaches, Garden Pier and volleyball court…..for maximum profit, enjoyment and taxpayer benefit?

  • bharat aggarwal says:

    all great ideas but can not expect any real movement. Look at the ac gateway project, brilliant and nearly done but now stalled, as is everything in atlantic city, just talk and talk no action.

  • Reality Check says:

    Having lived within a few blocks of Gardner’s Basin, I’ve enjoyed its offerings, but always perceived it as a diamond in the rough, tepidly managed, and in need of upgrades and repairs. I wondered how a place with such awesome views was seemingly unappreciated and neglected. Today I know the simple answer, it’s Atlantic City.

    My hopes were high when Mayor Guardian initially proposed turning the park into AC’s version of Baltimore Inner Harbor with the possibility of bringing in small scale cruise ships. The adjacent former Garwood Mills site, which was supposedly available, would provide the acreage required for creativity and expansion. Land values were to be assessed for purchase, and once obtained; the city was to request RFPs.

    On March 16, 2015, engineering firm Mason Consulting unveiled concept plans for Gardner’s Basin to a standing-room-only crowd at City Hall. Attendees were excited, but in typical Gilligan’s Island fashion, it didn’t take long for the enthusiasm to be darkened. Since part of Gardner’s Basin was funded using Green Acres money, only minimal upgrades to the original footprint are permitted under state regulations. How this fact was not known before all the fanfare and the wasting of Sandy grant money on the consulting report is inexcusable.

    My initial reaction to this newest proposal is skepticism based upon the city’s track record. If the goals are as Councilman Shabazz has recently said, “Upgrading the amenities and service at Gardner’s Basin while withdrawing the $200,000 funds it commits there,” I agree there’s merit. However, before any contract is signed, it must include a termination clause in case of mismanagement, and protections against unsustainable rent increases which could drive away merchants.