Status: On-going Concern
06/08: The All Wars Memorial Building reopened in April 2008 after a $11 million renovation and expansion jointly funded by Atlantic City and the CRDA. Community Development Block Grant funds were used for street reconstruction, building rehabilitation, and new additions to the building. The building is now a community center. While the All Wars building has retained its historic location and massing, the building rehabilitation encompassed significant loss of historic fabric and integrity. There is also uncertainty as to the necessity and success of compliance with the Section 106 review process, based on project funding. The NJ SHPO reassessed the building’s eligibility for the New Jersey and National Registers post-rehabilitation and maintains that the building remains eligible for the registers.
The Westside All Wars Memorial Building honors African American war veterans. Since it was built in 1924, with private funds, this facility has served as an anchor of the black community. It has outlasted a similar memorial built at the same time to honor white veterans, which was recently demolished.
From the beginning it housed offices of community organizations, including American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. During World War II it was an induction center. It has been a temporary shelter during floods, and a place to hold weddings, funerals, graduations, and other events.
Today the building is structurally sound but for a leaky roof that has caused minor damage, and it remains in community use much as it always has. Atlantic City, which owns the building, is leaning toward demolition, though for now is still listening to community voices. The African American community, however, is divided. Some see the building as a landmark and an anchor of the community while others see only a reminder of the segregation that long characterized the city. Supporters fear that the property may become another satellite parking lot for employees who are ferried by shuttle bus to the hotels and casinos.
Bruce Williams, Atlantic City Neighborhood Preservation