Residents of Atlantic City’s South Inlet on Tuesday voiced concerns about a state authority’s plans to displace them to make way for a redevelopment project in the neighborhood surrounding the Revel.
Despite the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s previous statements that residents would receive 90-day notices to vacate in September, residents on Tuesday said they have yet to receive those notices and are confused about the status of their housing.
CRDA is planning to acquire land in the South Inlet — including 62 housing units primarily in Vermont and Metropolitan plaza low rises — for a redevelopment project that would add new housing, shops and restaurants to the neighborhood.
Sandra Taliaferro, who has lived in Metropolitan Plaza for three years, said after meeting with CRDA officials at required meetings in July she began packing up her apartment and rented a storage unit. Today she understands little about the status of the project and its timeline, she said.
“My life is on hold because CRDA decided they want to beautify, or should I say gentrify, uptown. This doesn’t make any sense,” Taliaferro said. “You talk at meetings about airports and things like that. You’ve got residents here that are sitting on hold not knowing what Christmastime is going to be like because we don’t know what you, the CRDA members, are going to do with us uptown. I need answers.”
CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri and board Vice Chairman Robert Mulcahy both said the residents deserve answers about the timeline, but none were immediately provided at the meeting.
“Somehow, this got off track. I don’t know how,” Mulcahy said.
Palmieri also agreed to meet with the concerned group.
“We need to be in touch with you. We owe it to you,” Palmieri said.
Following the meeting Tuesday, the residents and other interested parties met with representatives of CRDA’s land use division about the status of the project. Among them were Atlantic City NAACP President Linda Steele whose organization held an informational meeting last month for those affected by the project and Warren Massey, former chairman of the Atlantic City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
The group requested that a reporter from The Press of Atlantic City be allowed to attend that meeting, but CRDA officials said that would not be permissible because the meeting was not prearranged with a member of the Public Affairs Office.
Following the meeting Massey said no new timeline was provided by officials, but the group was told that all of the needed properties have not yet been purchased by CRDA.
Massey said he has contacted Seton Hall University’s School of Law and the Fair Share Housing Center in Cherry Hill regarding questions about CRDA’s authority to displace residents for the project.
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