At its Feb. 19 board meeting, the CRDA approved plans for a skate park that could be built by as early as this summer. A location is still being determined.
ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY — At the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's (CRDA) Tuesday, Feb. 19, board meeting in Atlantic City, the state entity approved plans for a skate park to be built in Atlantic City.
The CRDA has been discussing the possibility of a skate park since the fall of 2012, with the intention of bringing another non-gaming attraction, as well as providing more family-friendly options, to the resort.
In a January interview with Atlantic City Weekly CRDA head John Palmieri said the skate park could be completed by "late summer."
On Tuesday, according to NBC-40, Palmieri said: "We think we have the money set aside. We've identified the funding. We believe we have a good site but we may determine that there are other sites that we need to review as well."
Palmieri's personal choice for the skate park site is near The Walk, in a vacant lot adjacent to the new "Wave" parking garage (pictured in the Jan. 17 cover of Atlantic City Weekly; see below) in the Ducktown section of the city and near the entrance to the Atlantic City Expressway.
Board members ultimately will decide where the skate park will be built, which would have to get under way soon if a late summer grand opening is to be achieved.
As "non-gaming attractions" have become the buzz phrase in Atlantic City over the last couple of years or so, with the intention of offering more of a diverse entertainment palette for visitors and locals in Atlantic City to enjoy in conjunction with the city's Tourism District and Master Plan, the skate park, which already has local and regional — as well as national and professional — skaters and surfers "stoked," is on the right track towards that mission.
Jason Forslund, a local resident, surfer, founder of the Skate AC movement and president of the Atlantic City Skateboarding Association, says that he's excited about the swift progression of his skate park idea.
"This project is exciting for me because it's in Atlantic City," Forslund told Atlantic City Weekly following the CRDA board meeting. "It wasn't phoned in from New York or California or whatever, it's not being done by people who don't live here. It was born here, and now through a strong community of advocates and a forward-thinking CRDA board we are seeing it come to life.
"I am really excited for the youth of Atlantic City to have something to call their own, something that people from their own community created for them to enjoy. I started the Atlantic City Skateboarding Association to get us a skate park in Atlantic City, but now we hope it will turn into something bigger, something that inspires the youth of A.C. and surrounding communities to get involved in their own communities — to work together toward a common goal no matter what that goal is."
Forslund says that almost anything is possible as far as the skate park goes and what it can do to enhance the city and bring in events to the city.
As in previous years, the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association (MBCA) Winter luncheon kickoff event at Resorts in Atlantic City featured a keynote address — an unofficial state of the city address — by Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford.
Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation today to create an Atlantic City Tourism District and announced a breakthrough in the Revel Casino project.
The ACA is developing a broad-based media campaign program with the intention of reaching as much as the Northeast as possible, from Boston down to Washington, D.C. It is expected to begin in mid-April.
'There's so much that's going on that's good and it really has enabled us to build a campaign that is very positive and is very upbeat and that does really talk to all of the really positive things that are going on.'
"There are those that don’t believe the Atlantic City fathers are capable of handling this business. And again, that speaks to a level of arrogance and it also speaks to an underlying air of racism — point blank, as I’ve pointed out."
CRDA Boss John Palmieri: “We are very excited about the preliminary concepts being assessed and look forward to sharing this material, and we encourage the public to take time to become involved in this process. It takes a wide range of stakeholders to create something that Atlantic City can be proud of.”
“We really [see the skatepark] as an opportunity [to complement] all of the other non-gaming kinds of activities that we want to support,” says Palmieri. “And we own a few parcels and this one we thought would be a potentially very good location.”
Eventually, both young men fell in love with skateboarding and wanted to pass it on as a way of giving back to their community.
“The unpredictable is part of the appeal of this band. That makes it fun for the fans and those who are in the band. We do things a little differently than other bands.”
Aside from calling, writing, e-mailing, or using a new Web site the CRDA says is in development for users to share ideas, as well as offer new ideas and projects, there are public CRDA meetings (on the third Tuesday of every month; the next one is Nov. 15) that you can attend to vocalize your support for certain projects or offer new ideas.
"I get offended when the governor and others advocate that we need an increased police presence on the Boardwalk to create the ‘perception’ that the city is safe, because the reality is that the Boardwalk is safe. But even to address just the ‘perception’ [of the city’s tourists] they advocate more resources. What about the neighborhoods?"