Speaking at a recent city luncheon, new CRDA chief John Palmieri says that time is ticking and the more input from residents, planners, developers, dreamers and visitors, the better.
ATLANTIC CITY — Speaking at the Atlantic City Hotel & Lodging Association luncheon, held at the Golden Nugget on Thursday, Nov. 10, the new directer of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), John Palmieri, a New Jersey native, said they he is encouraging developers, land owners and anybody with new ideas for the Atlantic City Tourism District to get in touch with the CRDA.
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.
Also, the Greater Atlantic City Chamber's Business Advocacy Committee is presenting a Wednesday, Nov. 30, public forum, which will include presentations by Palmieri and representatives from Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., a firms the state entity has hired to help formulate the Master Plan for city's Tourism District, which is due to the CRDA's board of directors by Feb. 1, 2012.
That doesn't give the new-in-town Palmieri, or the world-class hired guns, a lot of time. And that is why input is very important from city residents, developers, small business owners, tourists and anyone with a feasible dream, really.
That is also why, included in the Chamber's announcement about the event, the following message is stated:
"HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO BE HEARD. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is developing a Master Plan that will shape the future development of the Tourism District and of Atlantic City. Join the Greater Atlantic City Chamber at this special meeting for businesses and other stakeholders to obtain information and provide input on the Master Plan. Gathering business input is vital for the success of the plan and will be instrumental when developing goals."
The Nov. 30 forum takes place at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Room 201, from 9:30am-noon.
Members do not need to pay the $50 fee for non-members.
You can RSVP via acchamber.com or 609-345-4524 ext 12.
In related news, on Nov. 9 the CRDA approved $9.8 million for "Boardwalk Improvement Projects" in Atlantic City.
At its monthly board meeting last week the CRDA approved funding for two new Boardwalk Revitalization projects.
First, according to a press release, "Resorts Casino Hotel will significantly enhance its boardwalk frontage with the CRDA's approval of a $2.38 million project which will restore ocean views from the ballrooms, update storefronts, create Boardwalk seating for restaurants and construct new signage.
"The work is planned to commence in early 2012."
Secondly, Resorts' neighbor Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort "will enhance its Boardwalk frontage and entrance by creating new Boardwalk seating areas for two restaurants, refurbishing three staircases on the Boardwalk, adding 10 gazebos to the second level, and providing new signage and video displays.
"The CRDA has approved $6.85 million for this project."
"These projects are a perfect fit for the Atlantic City Tourism District's goal of refreshing and renewing Atlantic City's offerings," said CRDA Executive Director Palmieri. "They will add some excitement to that part of the Boardwalk and create a fresh new look."
"That part of the Boardwalk," is a section of the city (and tourism district) that will become even more of major focal point as the highly anticipated Revel casino, hotel and entertainment complex gets nearer to its planned opening date of May 2012. The company has been plucking talent from other city casinos and organizations to bolster its staff in recent weeks and months.
With the north-end of the Boardwalk in mind, and, for those interested in a new arts district elsewhere in the city, hopefully not a sign that the idea of such a district is kaput, the CRDA Board "approved preliminary eligibility of a project to restore the historic Garden Pier at New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk, which houses the Atlantic City Historical Museum and Atlantic City Art [Center].
"The pier has been severely damaged by several storms; the restoration will include removal of an unusable building at the end of the pier to open the view to the ocean, along with creating new facades for the exteriors of the museums, creating new lighting and landscaping and re-fencing the property."
"We're pleased to further our continuing partnership with the city on projects like these," Palmieri said in a release to the press.
"These are the things that contribute a quality experience for both our residents and our visitors, and we look forward to working on other such projects throughout the city."
(Full minutes of the Board meeting will be available on the CRDA Web site, njcrda.com.)
Although there is no new news on whether or not an arts district will be in the Master Plan for the Atlantic City Tourism District, the planners hired by the CRDA to help formulate the Master Plan met with local artists as well as advisory board members from the local arts organization ARTC in recent weeks to discuss the realities and benefits of an arts district in Atlantic City.
There are still many artists from the region, as well as some gallery owners and arts-related entities, interested in the prospects of a cultural boost to the city with an arts district.
Earlier this year, the CRDA held a forum at Dante Hall on Mississippi Avenue in the city's Ducktown section. The public meeting drew a capacity crowd to the performing arts center that is now being operated by Stockton College.
The meeting included CRDA officials, Stockton President Herman Saatkamp and newly elected Atlantic County Freeholder Alex Marino, also a Stockton executive, and in charge of Dante Hall, in addition to Atlantic County Freeholder Frank Formica, who operates his long-time family-owned business Formica Brothers Bakery around the corner from Dante Hall, and who was more than optimistic about what such a district could do not only for his neighborhood, but for the city as a whole.
Since that last arts district meeting, the two CRDA staffers spearheading the arts district studies have moved on from the CRDA and Stephanie Clineman has recently been hired as the House Manager at Dante Hall.
She says "a lot of exciting things are being planned."
Since Stockton took over Dante Hall, there have hardly been any performances at the non-casino venue, with the exception of the Atlantic City Music Festival, featuring the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and guest artists, held in mid-October.
Rumors are flying that Stockton is determined to be involved in the possible arts district, but is waiting to pull the trigger of any sort for an unspecified reason.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, many in the city are anxious to help the CRDA help the city of Atlantic City, its residents and its visitors.
Those folks, Palmieri says, are encouraged to attend the CRDA's public meetings, share and discuss ideas for the city's tourism district and stay involved.
The next CRDA meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 15.
One person who'll be at that meeting is Ventnor resident Jason Forslund.
"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."
“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.”
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.
'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.'
“The master plan is designed to breathe new life into this historic coastal playground and transform the city into a highly desirable place to live, work, play and visit."
Although the Tourism District Master Plan is due Feb. 1, it won't be presented to the public on that date. However, the CRDA will present the master plan to the public on Monday, March 26, at noon.
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.”
The new Web site includes a survey form that invites feedback from stakeholders on the approach of the Master Plan to address immediate, mid-term and long-term actions, and to identify key factors, priorities and areas of improvement that should be addressed.
In this economic climate, optimism about Atlantic City’s future can swing as wildly as the stock market does on each little bit of economic news. The city still faces growing out-of-state competition, gaming revenues are still down and the country’s persistent economic problems are keeping any tourists destination’s hopes for a rebound low.
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Recent developments in Atlantic City have left the city in a good news/bad news cycle that leaves both room for hope and pessimism in the city at the same time.
The perception is that it’s all about gaming [in Atlantic City]. And clearly it’s much more than that so that’s the opportunity, to make sure that doesn’t happen."
ATLANTIC CITY — John Palmieri, the new head of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, comes to Atlantic City like no other executive director of the authority ever has. Palmieri, who was head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority from 2007 up until earlier this year, and has headed redevelopment and economic development in other cities such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; and Hartford, Connecticut, certainly has the qualifications and background for the job. But so have other CRDA directors. What’s different is the CRDA he’ll be heading. Never in the authority’s history has the role of the CRDA been so large. An agency created to build housing in Atlantic City and...
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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.
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