ATLANTIC CITY - Roughly 100 people have gathered in Dante Hall here as a state Assembly panel hearing on the resorts tourism revitalization efforts gets underway.
Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director John Palmieri, one of the first to address the panel and audience, is outlining the accomplishments in the past year.
Among Palmieri's highlights: construction of the Wave parking garage and retail space, art grants, a 3-D light show on the Boardwalk and other improvements.
The state is overseeing the efforts through a beefed up Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
Their success or failure will go a long way toward determining whether New Jersey eventually allows casino gambling in the Meadowlands and other parts of the state.
"If Atlantic City is strong, the state is strong." Rep. Matthew Milam, D-Cumberland Cape may, Atlantic, chairman of the committee, said.
Gov. Chris Christie says the reforms need a few years to succeed.
Efforts so far include roving "Boardwalk ambassadors" to assist visitors, additional trash and recycling containers in public areas, and beefed-up sanitation sweeps.
The agency is also weighing numerous non-casino development proposals for Atlantic City.
Jeff Guaracino, the strategy officer for the Atlantic City Alliance, said Atlantic City has lost 6 million visitors between 2006-10. But he also said surveys conducted 3 months after "Do AC" was introduced show people in New York and Baltimore see Atlantic City as more sophisticated and less run down.
"The Philly market is going to be a tougher one to crack."
Staff Writer Hoa Nguyen contributed to this report.