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Watch: Trump Plaza implosion signals end of an era in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino tower came down around 9 a.m. EST Wednesday morning as scheduled, ridding the city of

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino tower came down around 9 a.m. EST Wednesday morning as scheduled, ridding the city of a derelict Boardwalk complex that was once part of former President Donald Trump’s casino empire.

Crowds gathered on the Boardwalk outside an exclusion zone, along nearby city streets or from their cars parked at Bader Field at the end of the Atlantic City Expressway. 

The implosion of the gutted, 34-story tower, for many, symbolizes the end of Trump’s time in this gambling resort town that saw it grow to four casino hotels and eventually fall to numerous financial setbacks, four bankruptcies and property sales.

More:After Plaza falls, only Trump’s legacy will remain in Atlantic City

More:Without Trump, South Jersey conservatives prepare to keep movement alive

More:What taking Trump out of Atlantic City will mean for the Boardwalk resort

An implosion is planned for Feb. 17 to bring down a 34-story hotel tower as part of the demolition of the Trump Plaza complex in Atlantic City.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small has said Trump contributed to the early days of the city’s casino industry, creating jobs while making a lot of money. 

“But he was selfish, took advantage of some people, hurt some people….. and stiffed some,” he added.

Sitting in “front row” seats in a nearby pier over the beach and Atlantic Ocean to view the tower’s destruction with city officials were 10 sets of winners of a city-sponsored charity auction benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City.

City Fire Chief Scott Evans said he hoped winds would cooperate and carry the resulting dust cloud east from the implosion site toward the ocean. Forecasts called for light winds around 10 mph from the northwest, according to the National Weather Service.

Evans also said the plan calls for the tower to fall on site and slightly to the north. He has explained that the triangular-shaped boardwalk entrance, a lower tower behind it and another lower building on the property will not be imploded.

Those structures will stand for now to help contain implosion debris and prevent it from falling onto streets and Boardwalk. Other parts of the complex already have been demolished by wrecking balls and other equipment.

Stephanie Koch, CEO of the nonprofit boys and girls club said donations connected with the event now total $191,000 — $175,000 from Carl Icahn after he shut down an earlier charity auction plan to award someone the right to push the detonation button.

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The Trump Plaza, the only casino Trump built from the ground up, operated for 30 years before closing in 2014. Icahn Enterprises, a major real estate developer, bought both the Trump Taj Mahal, which closed in 2016, Trump Plaza and the Trump Entertainment Resorts company. 

Icahn never reopened nor sold Trump Plaza; the Taj was sold in 2018 and now carries the Hard Rock name.

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