Reopening of Lucy The Elephant delayed as renovation project continues
Anyone who has been to Atlantic County may have seen Lucy The Elephant – a six-story roadside attraction. But this summer, she will be out of sight.
“People come [to Margate] to see Lucy, to see the spectacle of this giant six-story elephant,” says Richard Helfant, executive director of Lucy The Elephant.
The attraction is currently under a $2 million renovation and is covered by scaffolding. Her metal skin is being taken off piece by piece and will be replaced with a more durable metal material. The wood underneath is also being repaired from water damage.
"The project started in September, and they originally thought that the scaffolding would take about six weeks to erect - and it took 15 weeks to build,” says Helfant. “And then they had to put the containment around it, then we had delays on materials. Then we had a labor strike and we've had the worst weather in recent memory as far as wind."
This means the reopening is delayed to August. But tours will resume in a few weeks.
"They'll go in through Lucy's left rear leg into her belly. Unfortunately, they won't be able to look out the windows because they are covered with the scaffolding containment, but they will get to see the inside of Lucy,” Helfant says.
Visitors will still be able to tour inside of the elephant. But Helfant says that one of the main reasons why tourists come is to be able to see the outside of Lucy – and that will remain covered until August.
"People want to take their picture in front of her and none of that can happen and that is had a very negative effect on traffic in our gift shop over the winter,” he says.
Lucy’s team is getting ready to launch a final fundraising campaign to raise the remaining $800,000 needed for the project. They are hoping the community will step up.
“Lucy stands today as a testament to those dollars and those nickels that people donated over the years,” Helfant says.
Anyone who takes a tour this summer will get a free pass to come back when construction is over.
They say the next phase will be to revamp the gift shop to accommodate more visitors — including school trips.