Friday, June 19, 2015

The Rapid Reinvention of Atlantic City

Image result for atlantic city beaches
by Ryan Rydzewski, Jenna Giovinco and Amy Carranza, 
Special Correspondents 

As casinos close and thousands of jobs are lost, Atlantic City isn’t in as bad shape as we think, is it? Local and national news is flooded with the numbers of businesses closing, jobs lost and crimes being committed in Atlantic City.  But can this town that has reinvented itself in the past do it one more time?

David Zuba, publicist at the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, had a strong opinion regarding this issue. “Despite what the main stream media is talking about, there is significant investment going on here in Atlantic City.” 

 The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is a unique organization that has reinvested over $1.5 billion in Atlantic City alone since it’s inception in 1984. CRDA is funded through casino gambling revenues and has been ever since the State of New Jersey gave the casino industry a choice -- pay 2.5% of gambling revenues to the state, or reinvest 1.25% of gambling revenues back into the community.

The decision was an easy one, and now CRDA has reinvested around $2 billion in AC and the surrounding area. 

 “Atlantic City is in a special time. Billions of dollars are continuously being invested in the city,” said Zuba. 

Some of the biggest projects in the works are the Bass Pro Shops, which opened in April of this year, Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center and several casino restorations. Many in the area had heard about the Bass Pro Shops coming to town, but after speaking with CRDA, it was clear that the Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center is one of their biggest accomplishments yet. 

“There is a $16 billion corporate meetings market in the Northeast and Atlantic City is only tapping in for about 1% of that right now,” Zuba stated in a recent interview

 The new Conference Center will work in conjunction with the Convention Center and will bring millions of professionals to the city, along with millions of dollars. 

Zuba and the rest of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority work around the clock to hopes of reinventing Atlantic City. He made it clear there is a lot to offer to families, as well as couples. The Walk and The Pier have made AC a shopping destination as well as a fairly large tourist attraction on the East Coast. 

Many famous chefs have held residency within the restaurants both in the casinos as well as the surrounding area. Shows and nightlife light up the town throughout the week and are major attractions to the younger crowd come on weekends. 

Don't forget the only free beaches in South Jersey, which stretch the length of the city and attract thousands of people during the summer months. 

“Atlantic City is more than just gambling, it is a destination, and we are working hard to bring more to the city and to reinvent the image Atlantic City has held for so long,” said Zuba.

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