TRENTON – Acting on a commitment to strengthen and sustain Atlantic City’s revitalization efforts, Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver today convened the first meeting of the Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group. The group, comprised of members of the existing Atlantic City Executive Council and other regional stakeholders, will examine the post-COVID-19 recovery of Atlantic City, including continued efforts for citywide economic diversification, workforce development, and improved public health.
“From day one, our Administration has made Atlantic City’s revitalization a top priority that includes commitments to strengthening local government and diversifying the regional economy, and we cannot allow our progress to backslide,” said Governor Murphy. “This collective effort is not about one industry, or one neighborhood – it’s about positioning the entirety of the Atlantic City community to emerge on the other side of COVID-19 stronger and more resilient than before this emergency started.”
“Governor Murphy and I are united in the restart and recovery efforts for the City of Atlantic City. We are determined to build on the great progress that was made in Atlantic City pre-COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “This diverse, new working group includes some of the best and brightest minds in the State of New Jersey to help tackle the economic, health and community wellness issues facing Atlantic City. I am confident that through their work, and with an even deeper commitment to renewing and diversifying the economy, that prosperity and growth will be attainable for all Atlantic City residents.”
Lieutenant Governor Oliver’s Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group will be divided into two main groups. Within each of these groups, subcommittees will focus on specific aspects of their overarching goal.
1: Economic & Workforce Development Group:
Restart and Recovery: Consists of the gaming & hotel industry, City officials, boardwalk representatives, and other stakeholders. This subcommittee will focus on the restart and recovery of the hardest hit sectors of Atlantic City’s economy, including gaming and tourism.
Economic Diversification: Consists of economic development professionals, higher education officials/representatives, and other City stakeholders. The focus of this group will be diversifying and developing new sectors of the Atlantic City economy and how the region can provide technical assistance to small minority-owned businesses.
Workforce Development: Consists of community advocates, workforce development professionals, Building Trades, Atlantic County representatives, and community colleges. This subcommittee will focus on providing job training opportunities to Atlantic City residents in both existing sectors of the economy as well as emerging sectors.
2. Health & Community Wellness Group:
Public Health is Economic Health: Consists of healthcare providers and public health officials. In addition to the procurement and implementation of testing, contact tracing, and quarantine/isolation services for Atlantic City residents, this subcommittee will focus on community wellness and how it is linked to economic health.
Community Outreach: Consists of community and faith stakeholders who will assist with engaging residents of Atlantic City and driving a public messaging campaign on the importance of getting tested, cooperating with contact tracers, and quarantining/isolating if necessary. Additionally, this subcommittee will focus on initiatives for youth; maternal and pre-natal/infant healthcare; addiction recovery; mental health; and working with law enforcement to improve community relations that are built upon mutual respect and trust.
“The CRDA remains committed to following the Governor and Lt. Governor’s lead in revitalizing Atlantic City’s economy,” said Matt Doherty, CRDA Executive Director and Chair of the Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group. “The Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group is comprised of talented individuals who are focused on moving Atlantic City forward to a healthy and vibrant future post-COVID-19.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us in ways we could have never imagined. As the largest regional business group in South Jersey, we are acutely aware that when Atlantic City prospers the entire region prospers – people are working, businesses are thriving, economic activity is growing – and as a result, the entire state is prosperous,” said Christina M. Renna, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey; Vice-Chair, Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group. “The pandemic has certainly hit Atlantic City in some of the hardest ways possible, but the Task Force and its talented members are the right people to help reposition Atlantic City for the recovery we know it can and will have moving forward.”
“It’s a great day here in the City of Atlantic City and I’m honored to serve on the committee with various stakeholders, who offer a broad base of knowledge & expertise,” said Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr. “The committee’s goals align with my administration’s vision to improve the quality of life for residents, improve small businesses and create jobs. I am confident that we will get through this together, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
“I appreciate Governor Murphy and Lt. Governor Oliver for convening this working group because our families who rely on their livelihoods on Atlantic City’s casinos and hospitality businesses are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn and I am happy to continue working in a bi-partisan manner to re-vitalize the city and the region on common sense and responsible solutions so we can put our families back to work as soon as possible,” said Senator Chris Brown.
“The Atlantic City restart may have been paused due to Coronavirus, but we are committed and ready to continue diversifying and growing our economy,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo. “Coronavirus may have interrupted our momentum, but Atlantic City will pick up where it left off.”
“Atlantic City’s restart and recovery starts from the bottom up and I’m thrilled that the working group is committed to it,” said Assemblyman John Armato. “The most effective way to recover from this pandemic and its devastating effects is by engaging directly with the community in Atlantic City and its leaders. Atlantic City has the opportunity to come back stronger than ever.”
“I look forward to working with Governor Murphy and his administration and Mayor Small and the entire working group to help Atlantic City stabilize for the short term while working towards stabilization for the long term,” said Dan Cosner, President of the South Jersey Building Trades.
“Governor Murphy’s Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group is an innovative strategy which I have no doubt will result in a sea change in how we envision the future of Atlantic City through the prism of citizens, tourists and the workers in our industry,” said Bob McDevitt, President of Unite Here Local 54. “Once again Governor Murphy’s leadership is providing the light of hope in these troubling times. I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Oliver on this group effort to get our precious community back on the path of a bright future.”