The CRDA made a presentation at last week's Urban Land Institute’s “Atlantic City Investment Conference” to enlist the help of private investors to revitalize Atlantic City.
ATLANTIC CITY — There are some signs of progress in the plan for state entities to redevelop America’s favorite playground.
But the state can’t do it alone.
To this end, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) made a presentation at the Urban Land Institute’s “Atlantic City Investment Conference” on Wednesday, April 13, to enlist the help of private investors to revitalize Atlantic City.
During the all-day event called “Atlantic City Investment Forum: Revitalizing the City, Repositioning the Resort,” institutional leaders gathered to hear a team of panelists discuss goals for the downtown area — which is primed to become the new tourism district— as well as various trends in urban development.
According to the project management officer for the CRDA, Jordan Cox, the conference marks the first time the organization has hosted an event to “showcase” what is being done to redevelop the city as a primary resort destination.
“This is, to my knowledge, the first real effort being made to come up with plan that might actually succeed and its not really focused on gaming,” he said.
Panelists argued that the CRDA’s plan to streamline the area’s unique attributes such as the beach, Boardwalk, casinos and local arts community would help make Atlantic City more competitive as an urban center, rather than just a gaming destination.
The event opened with a light breakfast and a pep talk from Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who, at the Governor's Conference on Tourism last month, vowed to “die trying to fix Atlantic City.”
During her speech, Guadagno reiterated her pledge and reaffirmed the support of Governor Christie’s administration in this aim. This was followed by a presentation by Jeremy Sunkett, the director of projects at the CRDA, which mapped out — what he called — an “ambitious” plan for the future of the tourism district in the down town area.
A large portion of the plan was devoted to creating non-gaming related facilities. Practical amenities such as a grocery store, he claimed, as well as more cultural offerings such as an arts district, would serve to bring a more family oriented feel to the city.
To accomplish this, he said, the plan requires the support and collaboration of Atlantic County’s major institutions in healthcare and education such as the Richard Stockton College, Atlantic Cape Community College and Atlanticare.
These institutions were strongly represented at the conference by panelists; CEO of AtlantiCare David Tilton; Stockton College president Dr. Herman Saatkcamp; and Atlantic Cape Community College president Dr. Peter Mora.
“One of the strategies of this downtown revitalization plan that we wrote is based off of building around existing institutions,” said Cox. “We’re trying to get them to do more development [in] downtown Atlantic city, rather than off island.”
“Education and healthcare are two huge growth industries,” Cox added. “[Their development] benefits the city for multiple reasons, getting young people in the city: more disposable dollars.”
In addition to garnering support from major institutions and private investors, the plan is heavily reliant on the development of Atlantic City’s arts and cultural offerings. Panelists acknowledged that such development has had a positive impact on other cities in the Northeast.
Thus, another leg of the CRDA’s plan is to facilitate an arts and cultural renaissance through the creation of the “Arts District,” which would center on Mississippi Avenue, home to historic Boardwalk Hall and the currently closed Dante Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
But the arts district, which would provide housing and work-space for artists, is not a new idea according to Michael Cagno, the executive director of the Noyes Museum of Art. The concept has been around since 1996, he says.
Because of this, local artists, like photographer Bill Horin, are skeptical that the plan to create the art district will work, let alone create a healthier urban environment in Atlantic City.
Horin, who is set to launch his new enterprise, ArtC next month, — an organization which will serve as an advocate for local artists — says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the arts district.
"The CRDA and ACA are creating a powerful synergy with the arts that is attracting more visitors and increased interest in Atlantic City from the arts community."
The first production by Dante Hall’s in-house production group, Ninth Circle Players, 'Italian American Reconciliation,' is a comic folktale that explores the dynamics of male and female relationships.
Wheels have been in motion for quite a while regarding Atlantic City’s vision of creating an arts district, and a stronger presence in town for such cultured pursuits as painting and sculpture, theater and dancing, classical music and more.
When a car accident left him homebound in 2000, he became bored with household chores and to save his sanity, he said he began to draw again and by trial and error, taught himself how to paint people, places and things.
A special presentation from ArtC — an organization dedicated to promoting the arts in southern New Jersey — in partnership with the Noyes Museum of Art and Stockton College, Photo SJ 2012 will showcase two of the world’s most accomplished and respected professional photographers: John Russo and Seth Resnick.
Stockton President Herman J. Saatkamp: “For our students enrolled in programs involving the arts, the facility provides an opportunity to explore ideas and concepts in the visual arts in a manner we previously could not."
"I think that the casino [environment] is an art unto itself, with the lights and the movement, the energy. I think that affects my art, [similar to] the way cities influenced jazz. I think that compression — the mesh of people — that sort of thing brings out art within you."
In Frank Quigley's world, an Invisible robot protects us all. His arch nemesis, Rock Man, is constantly threatening the world. It's what super villains do.
Plus DrewToonz (Ron Pauly D!) and the Album of the Week: 'The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams'
Renovated housing attracts better tenants, which attracts more renovations in the neighborhood. By fixing what we have already, we can immediately put local people to work without the politics of the unions and commercial construction or out of town development interests.
Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Wilson perform July 11 for free in the summer Monday night music series at Kennedy Plaza.
Tuesday, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) begins a process of finding out what artists think of the district and what they’d like to see included in plans through an official survey the state funding authority hopes will reach 3,000 area and regional artists.
One may wonder at the neighbor who spends all night working out of a 16-foot box truck. But that’s exactly what local sculptor and mixed-media artist Lennox Warner has had to do at times, in order to complete his work. ...
The CRDA last month authorized $70,000 for an initial study to create a “neighborhood strategy area” — designed to outline a plan to transform Atlantic City neighborhoods into an arts district and others into medical and education districts. The CRDA could begin land acquisition in the area as early as February....
Atlantic County Freeholder Alisa Cooper is no stranger to the arts. A music teacher in Egg Harbor Township and the owner of her own music production company, Alisa Cooper Orchestras, Cooper has been ...
There's still time to catch an exhibit of a phenomenon in the healing arts that just happens to be producing some of the best "outsider" art in recent years. The Noyes Museum has teamed with Hospital...
Dedicated. That is the one word I would use to describe the Atlantic City Art Center's executive director Kaleem Shabazz. Shabazz has shown his dedication to both the center and community through man...
One of the "City Beat" columns that people have talked to me about most this year was my Oct. 11 column on Atlantic City's need for an arts district. I have had a number of people stop me at local ar...
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall
Rush to the Taj