In the midst of a year with major overhauls and continued violence grabbing headlines in Atlantic City, one major initiative has fallen under the radar, despite great success.

As the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority was given the keys to oversee Atlantic City's Tourism District, a Master Plan was drafted to outline the ideas to reform the resort city. A key part of that Master Plan was removing "eyesores" around Atlantic City.

"It doesn't only have a visual impact when we've got a property that's old, tired, and boarded up, it's also a safety issue," said CRDA Deputy Executive Director Susan Ney Thompson.

She says that the CRDA has worked pretty seamlessly with Atlantic City on this initiative, with a system of the CRDA bankrolling many of the projects, and the city implementing them.

Four major instances of progress have been made throughout the city:

  • South Inlet - The CRDA has provided about $500,000 to clean up the up and coming area around the new Revel Casino.
  • Citywide - $1 million has been issued to target dilapidated buildings all around AC.
  • Garden Pier - Another $1 million has been funded to remedy this area of the city.
  • Boardwalk - CRDA has set aside $650,000 to remove an unusable portion of the boardwalk, and clean up the surrounding area.

All told, CRDA has funded $3.15 million towards these various projects. The results have been very positive in a short time. So far, 36 "eyesore" properties have been removed, 20 of which were sponsored by the CRDA and carried out by the city, and 16 that were handled by property owners.

There are also various projects in different phases that are on the horizon.

"Where we've got property which is not moving forward and is, in fact, holding a neighborhood back, then we've got to address it," Thompson explained.

One of the toughest balancing acts for the CRDA and city is determining whether a property needs to be removed, while also maintaining the historical fiber and context of the city. While the city generally handles the identification of these properties, the two sides work together through the process.

"We've got to move the city forward," she said, "And we've got to be able to make the tough call and work toward a demolition."

The initiative has been a major part and high priority, as the city and CRDA work to clean up the Tourism District and surrounding area to hopefully turn around the struggling resort city.

"So we think we've seen some very good results, and we're very proud of the city being very proactive and working with us on the initiative," she said.