Atlantic City’s Mayor, Don Guardian, and the director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), John Palmieri, met this week with members of the Public Relations Council of Greater Atlantic City. The two spoke for about 40 minutes updating and information the group about what is happening to move the city forward even though they are facing a stalemate with the state of New Jersey and a highly publicized financial crisis.
Mayor Guardian told the group at the meeting at Kelsey’s on Pacific Avenue that no matter what happens in the coming months, “Atlantic City is still going to be here, and it’s still going to be a hot summer.” Part of what is planned for this summer is a series of beach concerts including acts by Toby Keith and Florida Georgia Line. There will also be an R&B concert and a rock concert, but the artists performing are not yet determined.
The Mayor also mentioned plans revolving around the city’s Chelsea section and Stockton University’s future campus, rebuilding the Absecon Inlet area of the Boardwalk, new housing to be added throughout the city, and bringing in a “Wawa-like” store near Pacific Avenue. Guardian joked that in a second term as Mayor, he plans to bring in the real deal Walmart, saying, “If I am successful as mayor, one day, in my second term, I will bring a Wawa to Atlantic City.”
But, because of the attention to a city-wide threatened shutdown, when Palmieri spoke, he approached his time with seriousness reminding that the PR Council members’ jobs will be difficult, saying, “This is when people like you earn your stripes… I’m hopeful, as a state employee, that whatever works out benefits the city.” His speech was much shorter, but he showed a video the CRDA recently produced highlighting what his organization has been doing recently. It included a Boardwalk Ambassadors security program, the Miss America pageant’s return to AC, the Resorts Casino Hotel’s Margaritaville beach-bar complex, and many more coming improvements.
Some of the focus turned to Stockton University, new housing in that area and how the revitalization of the area should start further growth. Also mentioned were possibilities for four of the closed casinos. Several properties, including Bader Field, will be up for auction in June, but other properties are being held in reserve for future growth in the City.
From a PR perspective, this meeting was a success. When there’s a crisis happening, make sure the people who act as the face to the public are well-informed and have positive news of how things are being handled. More than anything, this meeting met that expectation in spades.