Location: The Arts District, Ducktown, Atlantic City
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) met June 28th with artists, art groups, and residents in Dante Hall. In a nutshell, the CRDA is trying to assess the need and decide where to build artist housing for a proposed Arts District in Atlantic City. Block 389 has been identified, which is CRDA land at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway, as a possible place to start.
There is talk of erecting 100 units on this bayview property that is Atlantic City’s gateway. The powerpoint presentation by the CRDA on June 28 showed studies and noted that housing could take three to five years until completion. The CRDA reps on hand further identified availability of federal funding if criteria is met.
These are all great steps forward in relation to Atlantic City and the entire region's future.
Here are some compiled community thoughts, following the June 28 meeting:
1) "Thank you for the reach out."
2) "We don’t have three to five years."
3) "The town itself is still being bypassed."
4) "Will the affordable housing for artists, etc., be similar to Section 8 housing, as has been a part of a successful program in New York City for artists?"
Local author, Atlantic City native and fellow AC Weekly columnist Turiya Raheem suggested Kentucky Avenue, “the very soul of Atlantic City,” be part of the proposed arts district. She’s right. It’s time to fund Steve Young and the Polaris Groups’ vision to reinvent and rebuild "KY and the Curb." All of Atlantic City is an arts disctrict — or used to be.
In relation to artist housing, Jose Rivera Sinclair, Jason Brandli, myself, and Ed Fonte of the Atlantic City Business and Citizens Association walked the Ducktown neighborhood immediately following the meeting, where it was presented that the arts district would run up and down Mississippi Avenue in Atlantic City from Boardwalk Hall to (hopefully) the bay. This is the historically Italian-American neighborhood called Ducktown, where Formica Bros. Bakery has resided for a century and where the White House Sub Shop is located — with its non-stop lines of hungry sub-shop patrons.
Here are our thoughts:
On neighboring Georgia and Florida avenues there are 22 buildings for sale holding 118 housing units that can be renovated cheaper and within months, lowering density and increasing neighborhood livability.
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.
Atlantic City shouldn’t be so ugly. Bring back the original look of a cool, small town where people live because they want to. It’s time to fix up Atlantic Avenue too and all the vacant apartments that already exist. Until we clean up what we have, we will always be looked at as a seaside slum with casinos and a few pockets of nice.
Ducktown has a great start: The Walk, Dante Hall, Formica’s renovated storefronts and new townhouses, Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern, Charros Restaurant are all located in Ducktown. These are beacons of light. Let’s renovate next door to them, putting safe clean environments in our bad parts.
My former hometown Margate changed its whole Barbary Coast one building at a time. What was once a college party area is now the place to be in the city.
Our current focus on a block here and there is forced economic segregation. It is the by-product of the existing system. Now, more than ever, it’s time to change the system. The path started by the state and CRDA are great steps in the right direction. Let’s turn them into giant steps for the town and everyone in Atlantic City.
Finally, the land at the foot of expressway has a higher and better use than housing. Keep it open, welcoming and usable as a public park with a public marina.
Folks could enjoy the waterfront as end anchor to The Walk, and keep or launch a boat right at the foot of the expressway. David Tayoun has proposed this. He’s right. We are a waterfront community. People come here because of our views. It’s time to save them for ourselves and our visitors.
The existing physical reality of Atlantic City must change more quickly for the perception to change dramatically. Let’s keep the energy positive and positively create Oz on the Ocean!!
Geoff Rosenberger is a Broker Associate at Marketplace Realty. Read more of the new acweekly.com columnist, Atlantic City resident and self-proclaimed visionary's "Geoff's Page," including local snap shots, thoughts, Atlantic City news, random musings, GLBT-related news, The Real Report, and happenings every week — only at acweekly.com.
E-mail Geoff at email@example.com or call him at 609-385-7585.
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.
It feels like this is truly the beginning of a real arts district in Atlantic City.
“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.”
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.
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"I hope my daughter will be introduced to a different type of music. She usually plays rock and R&B. I've always tried to keep my daughters busy with something constructive during the summer, no sitting around on your butt watching TV for months."
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.
A large portion of the plan was devoted to creating non-gaming related facilities. Practical amenities such as a grocery store, as well as more cultural offerings such as an arts district, would serve to bring a more family oriented feel to Atlantic City.
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....
"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."
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