Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford offers city initiatives that he feels should be a part of the state-proposed "Tourism District'; lays them out at press conference Thursday morning at City Hall.
As anticipated, Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford held a press conference Thursday morning at City Hall to address an issue that has become known as the resort's "Tourism District."
According to Langford, he and members of Atlantic City City Council have been discussing the proposed "Tourism District" and have "some very strong opinions on what should and what shouldn't, what must and what cannot take place here in the city of Atlantic City."
The mayor opened the press conference by saying he wanted to accomplish two things — first, let the media and the people know about the issues that he and members of council have problems with in terms of the state takeover, and initiatives that the city hopes to put into action as a part of any plan to change Atlantic City as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed in July.
Langford, who, at the end of November, told Atlantic City Weekly that communication between his office and Christie's was a major problem, insists that the state has not held up its part of the bargain in incorporating the city in discussions for Christie's proposed district. He says better communication is a key missing link in moving forward with the governor's proposed changes for Atlantic City. He did note that he had spoken to one of the members of Christie's staff Wednesday night, Dec. 29, via a phone call that the mayor took at his home.
Langford again stressed the need for the state to look at the city's residents and not just a quarantined district for tourists. The majority of Atlantic City residents are black, noted the mayor, and most of the tourists are white. Meanwhile, the majority of crime happens in the neighborhoods, while the Boardwalk is one of the safest places to be in the city. So, the mayor asks, what about the residents? Why create a perception that tourists are safe when more could be done to make the residents safe as well?
The mayor laid out some city-created objectives, which could dovetail with the state plan for the city, as long as the two entities work with each other and communicate better moving forward.
In July, Chrisite came to Atlantic City and pretty much proposed a state takeover of a "tourism and entertainment district" and gave the city, as well as state lawmakers, a year to make significant changes to the resort, which has seen a hefty drop of visitors and casino players due to increasing new competition popping up in neighboring and nearby states.
The mayor also talked about the city taking back ownership of Boardwalk Hall to make it less expensive to hold events there and to make it more profitable.
He also discussed several key steps that the city is offering the state in order to form a better partnership.
The measures include creating "geographical boundaries" of the proposed tourism district, maintaining the city's planning and zoning function instead of ceding it the state, a new tax-related pilot program, the creation of a $1 casino/hotel room tax, and policing of the proposed "District."
In the 11-minute video of the press conference (which can be watched above or by clicking here), the mayor addresses all of these ideas — and more — as a way, just before the new year arrives, to help invigorate the state-city partnership so that the city is not left in the dark with regard to the state's plans and so that the residents of Atlantic City are not neglected.
The mayor said that, moving forward, if anything related to Christie's proposed state takeover plans are "fast tracked" without members of the municipal government involved, able to give input or simply be a part of the discussions, that the legality of such occurrences would be questioned and taken to court if necessary.
Assemblyman Vince Polistina, along with members of Atlantic City's city council were present at the press conference, which included dozens of photographers and reporters. The mayor acknowledged Polistina and praised him for his work in the region.
After the press conference, Polistina spoke to the media.
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.
I have no idea if Gov. Christie is a Phish fan. But even if he’s not, it’s time for him to go trolling for some money so that the world knows that Phish, which could have played its Halloween shows anywhere, decided to take Atlantic City’s bait.
Should Atlantic City try to position itself as a Jersey-shore style family resort, which just happens to have a very adult–oriented casino industry, or should it try to focus on the adult market?
OK, so maybe the lyrics are a little different this time, but the music’s the same. Atlantic City — in fact, this whole region — has a troubling habit of talking a project to death with little to show for all the rhetoric except a pile of newspaper clippings.
On a sizzling hot Boardwalk Wednesday Governor Chris Christie did his best to say that the state was looking to help Atlantic City, not take over. “I’m here to extend the hand of partnership to the city,” Christie said. "We are entering into this public private partnership because we have to remake ourselves. We want to make Atlantic City a place where families and businesses want to be and want to come back to again and again.”
"[B]ills and legislation affecting Atlantic City and the creation of a 'Tourism District' have been fast tracked, and despite promises and assurances to the contrary...."
"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?"
On Friday, June 4, at 10am in the Atlantic City Convention Center, Langford and the committee chairpersons he appointed will present their recommendations to the public.
The day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sent staffers to visit Atlantic City Mayor Langford, the mayor says he doesn't feel much different about the concerns he raised last week and that the ball is in the governor's court now.
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.
Watch the video of Atlantic City Mayor Langford on CNN Nov. 1 accusing Gov. Christie of a 'double standard.'
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