Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Public pitches ideas at Atlantic County economic forum

One man suggested making an arts district in Atlantic City. Another proposed making the resort “the world capital of games.” A woman said it should it be the wellness capital.

About 100 residents of Atlantic County gathered at the Atlantic City Convention Center Monday to bounce ideas off one another during a public forum on diversifying the economy. The forum, which included business and political leaders, was the second of three such meetings. The third will be held 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 24 at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton.
“We need diversification,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson during opening remarks. He said the area has a foundation in medical, education and tourism.
“We want to build upon that,” he said.
Angelos Angelou, of AngelouEconomics, the economic consulting firm hired to help Atlantic County create a plan to diversify its economic base and improve salaries, gave his thoughts during the forum. He stressed that the area cannot rely on the state for help.
“Economic development is local,” he said.
Angelou said the firm has a three-phase timeline for its project. He said the first phase, a market assessment, is “pretty much complete” and a report will be presented to the county this week. The second report will be released in 45 days and a final report will be given in the middle or end of July.
During the public portion, ideas ranged from expanding education to attracting Internet moguls.
George Loza, of Brigantine, said Atlantic City should stick to its strengths as a resort. He also said last weekend’s Garden State Film Festival can be built upon.
“That can fit in with truly creating an arts district,” Loza said.
Peter Liu, of Linwood, said the city should stick to another strength -- gaming -- but not just gambling.
“Games of chance and games of skill. We need both,” Liu said. He said young people “are crazy about video game tournaments.”
Mindy Solkin, founder of The Running Center in Atlantic City, said the city should capitalize on the new popularity of health and fitness and make the city the “wellness capital.”
Ronald Young, managing partner of R&R Development Group, showed renderings of plans to develop Bader Field. He said he already has financial commitments of up to $75 million. He said his plan included a marina and a monorail, and would help bring jobs and entertainment. He also said the area needs to attract international tourism.
“We need China, we need London, we need the world,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment