The framework for Atlantic City's newly formed Tourism District is passed with a unanimous vote on Wednesday but what will be the future for the Tourism District Master Plan?

Proposed boardwalk plan in Atlantic City (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) voted 14-0 in favor of the plan during an open meeting at the Atlantic City Convention Hall. Before the vote, several presentation's highlighted the projects proposed in the master plan. The ideas include aesthetic improvements on the boardwalk as well as streets throughout the Toursim District, creating gaming and non gaming attractions focusing on art and shopping, and turning Gardner's Basin into a unique waterfront experience.

The CRDA says all of these improvements would create a more unique and complete visitor experience for both gamblers and families alike.

While the room where the vote was held remained largely favorable to the projects the Master Plan sets forth, several residents asked that the process not be subject to delays.

"Let's see something done right away, not two years, not three years, like immediately so we know that this is really going to come to fruition." Says North Ohio Avenue resident Dennis Konzwlman.

Several residents who got up to speak during the comment portion echoed sentiments that they are hopeful about the plan's possibilities however in the past they felt let down by previous Master Plans.

Local radio personality Pinky Kravitz made his feelings more bluntly. "Put a shovel in the ground!'

John Palmieri, CRDA executive director, say that there are three phases of implementation in the Master Plan to address near term, mid term, and longer term projects.

"We consider short term, a term that let's projects to get started within one to two years. Midterm two to five, and longer term five plus."

Palmieri notes that many master plans look out ten to twenty years and what makes this one different is that it focuses on projects within the upcoming two and three years. Further more, provisions of the S 11 bill which created the Tourism District mandate that progress I evaluated every two years.

"So I think it's fair to say that we will be preparing a reporting system that allows us to identify what we've done and how well we've done. "

Palmieri emphasizes the fact that Governor Christie is lending his full support towards the Tourism District and the Master Plan, and he believes it's completely achievable.

"He [Governor Christie] want things to happen, and I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could make a difference right away"


He does stress however that the CRDA can help fund many of the projects but the initiative to initiate them must come from private business.

"We can't build these new facilities, the private sector has to understand that the city and we're prepared to make the investment support a private enterprise."

The idea he believes has the most chance of getting traction early on is the innovation pavilions on the boardwalks that would ultimately play host to corporate sponsors and attract tourists.

"We talked about jump starting it by doing one as a demonstration project as we identify if eight or ten or twelve more can work. We need to be sensitive about views to the ocean."

Adding the potential of the idea.

"The decorative amenities the pavilion idea is one that we think has a compelling energy, so I think there are any number of things that can happen very quickly within that boardwalk precinct."

Palmieri feels that while the plan is just beginning they are expecting many of the near term initiatives to begin.

"We're talking to a few people, it's a little too early to precisely identify a project, but I think that we will be talking about one or two projects soon within the inlet."