Op-Ed: Stand Together to Fight State Takeover

Ben Franklin said it best at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” These words are very applicable in Atlantic City and Atlantic County today, with the unconstitutional state intrusion, taking of tax revenue and giveaways in Atlantic City. County Executive Dennis Levinson has been authorized by the Freeholder Board to sue the state in federal court over the flawed PILOT program. The city and county residents must lobby to support those efforts and expand the cause of action to include the necessary constitutional and civil rights claims against the state. How would this be done?

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Atlantic City Seeking Sculpture for Brown Memorial Park

Atlantic City has published a request-for-proposals for a sculpture to go in the renovated Harold R. Brown Memorial Park along Dr Martin Luther King Blvd. The city is requesting proposals to design, supply and install a sculpture, according to the bid notice. Sealed proposals should be submitted before the purchasing division’s meeting on Tuesday May 9 at 11 am. Artists interested in submitting a proposal should contact the purchasing department for bid specifications. Brown’s park has been transformed this year, since Councilman Kaleem Shabazz and others launched a campaign to try and find funds to clean it up:

Help Needed To Rebuild Atlantic City Memorial Park

Atlantic City Development Corp, the developer behind the Stockton University campus on Absecon Island, came forward to help out after the county said it couldn’t provide the funds.

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South Jersey Wunderkinder Plan Pop-Up Dining Experience For New AC Charity

A group of young talents from the Atlantic City area has come together to form an ambitious new charity that they will kick off with AC’s first ever pop-up restaurant – outdoors, under the stars, and for 200 to 300 people. The nonprofit is called For Atlantic City By Atlantic City and it is the brainchild of Michael Brennan, the award-winning chef of Ventnor’s Cardinal Bistro, and friends including Carl Fleck and Lenny Schafer of the Iron Room in Atlantic City. For the first pop-up extravaganza, Brennan will be the kitchen mastermind, while Fleck and Schafer will craft cocktails for the guests. There is a kickstarter to fund the project and Brennan said he hopes to send $30,000 of the fundraising proceeds to the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club. “Basically, having grown up in this area and watching the steady decline of not only our economy but the environment around us, I wanted to be able to help,” Brennan said via Facebook.

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Meet the ARTeriors Artists

Heather Deegan Hires stands under some industrial lighting and looks from her phone to the wall in front of her and back to the phone again. She’s trying to show me her vision for transforming the sterile space with graying baby-blue walls and institutional floor tiles into a topsy-turvy wonderland. She first saw the room a couple of weeks ago and, at this point, she has just over a week before it will become one of the installations at Atlantic City’s third ARTeriors project.  

“The whole theme of our room is an upside down, sort of Alice in Wonderland, but a dark version of it,” said Deegan Hires (@bodypaintingbyheather). “So we still – we have a lot of work to do.”

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Atlantic City Mayor Optimistic Skate Park Can Be Rebuilt, Soon

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian is optimistic the city’s skate park, mysteriously demolished on Wednesday, can be rebuilt for the summer. Mayor Guardian met earlier on Thursday with Jason Klotz, one of the original architects of the informal park known as Back Sov, to talk about how the project can be rebuilt to code. The park, which had been used by skaters from in and around the city, was assembled over the course of a few years on an old street hockey rink on Sovereign Avenue, overlooking the bay. Klotz and his colleagues will attend the city’s planning board meeting next week to present their plans for the new park, Mayor Guardian said. The Mayor was impressed that Klotz already had funding and volunteers organized to do the work.

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Even More People Are Leaving Atlantic County

Does it sometimes feel like a lot of people around you are packing up and leaving? If you’re in Atlantic County, you might have noticed a trend. The county lost more than 3,700 people in the last two years, more than 5 a day*, according to the latest estimates published by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday. The estimates show that the pace of population shrinkage in the county has increased, too. Check out how Atlantic County compares to other shrinking counties in South Jersey (Gloucester county is the only one of the six southernmost counties to show a population increase between 2010 and 2016, according to the Census Bureau estimates):

Last year the Atlantic County population shrunk faster than in any of the seven previous years of Census Bureau estimates, which are based on the 2010 census.

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The Legal Fight Behind Atlantic City’s Hot Pink Mess

Atlantic City’s Ducktown Arts District has a new fuchsia warehouse, courtesy of Jimmy DiNatale, its colorful owner, who is in the process of suing everyone’s favorite state agency, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, over what he says is CRDA’s failure to disclose environmental contamination on the site, where he’d planned to open a Hooters and a sports bar. Last year, while lawyers for DiNatale and CRDA were writing pointed letters to one another, a group of intravenous drug users set up residence in the empty warehouse at 2231 Arctic Avenue, and the property began to fill up with syringes. The pathway between the warehouse and the neighboring Noyes Arts Garage—where last summer Mayor Guardian hosted a tie-your-own-bowtie event and kids played—became littered with drug paraphernalia. Earlier this winter, Mo Colon and Gladys Coppage, two artists who work out of the Arts Garage, noticed the spike in the number of syringes and took it upon themselves to do some cleanup around the warehouse. They found surgical gloves, ER records, tampons, needles, etc.

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Boardwalk Hall Starbucks To Offer Outdoor Seating

The new Starbucks set to open at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall will have outdoor seating, according to a license agreement signed last week. It is not clear exactly when the Starbucks cafe will open. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in October agreed to chip in just shy of $600,000 to help refit the space at the entrance to Boardwalk Hall, with Starbucks paying a further $700,000. CRDA is also paying $2 million to rebuild bathrooms in Boardwalk Hall that have been unused for decades, but will presumably be available for Starbucks customers. Route 40 reported last month that attendance at Boardwalk Hall has been declining.

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