John Palmieri has 30 years of experience in urban redevelopment, but redeveloping Atlantic City may be the most unique experience yet.
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 spur economic development projects around the state is now charged with developing Atlantic City like never before. CRDA’s power now extends to running the city’s new tourism district, policing and cleaning the city, attracting new investment and major involvement with promoting and enhancing the city as a resort.
Palmieri, who grew up in Hoboken, N.J., tells Atlantic City Weekly that returning to New Jersey, where he still has family, was a big reason he wanted to take the job. But more important was the opportunity the CRDA has to really change in the city.
“When I heard about the initiatives and the legislation that was being passed, I knew that the CRDA would have a chance to play a very dynamic role in the city,” he says. “We would have the authority to really affect change. And hearing Governor [Chris] Christie and his commitment to revitalizing the city and the way so many are unified towards taking action, it was just a very exciting opportunity.”
And a slightly different one than he’s used to. Boston, Charlotte, Providence and Hartford are all cities that needed focus on housing, industry and economic development.
Atlantic City, however, is a resort with a single dominant industry, the casino industry, surrounded by mainland communities that house most of the city’s workers. It’s also a beach resort surrounded by other beach resorts.
Furthermore, this new direction comes as the city faces serious problems with expanding casino competition around it, and of course, during hard economic times.
“I do realize that Atlantic City is a unique area,” Palmieri says. “In Boston, for example there were five distinct areas of redevelopment we focused on. In Atlantic City, the casino industry is dominant and I think I’ve been told the casinos are 70 percent of the rateables in the city.
"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."
“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.”
15 picks for your hot Jersey shore summer action
The goal of the campaign is to build a year-round visitor base and shift consumer perception of the resort.
“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."
As detailed in the Jan. 5 Atlantic City Weekly, a state-mandated Master Plan that outlines Atlantic City’s proposed Tourism District was given a Feb. 1 deadline by Gov. Chris Christie, one year to the date he signed the legislation designed to make the resort town a safer and more attractive place to visit.
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.
Some of the major changes during 2011 included the restart of construction on the Revel project, with a 2012 opening date slated. (Some predict it may open ...
Plus, Drew Toonz, South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble and the Album of the Week
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.
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."
Flanked by several paintings by local artists, Richard Stockton College president Herman Saatkamp warmed up a crowd of over 100 regional artists of various disciplines, intellectuals and public figures on Tuesday night, June 28, at Dante Hall for a presentation by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). The evening marked the next step in creating an arts and cultural district in Atlantic City.
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.
Atlantic City residents filled the Westside Complex auditorium to offer input to Susan Ney Thompson, interim director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), as they prepare to take over many functions of Atlantic City's municipal government.
The mood in the room during the town hall meeting was hopeful as people identified problems ranging from parking and bike racks to training opportunities for the city's youth.
"The ideal situation for any city is to create a place were people want to live, work, learn, and enjoy their surroundings. That in return will make the Atlantic City arts and education District a must see destination for visitors and tourists."
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.
Annette Funicello Dies at 70