ATLANTIC CITY - Free ballet, help for the homeless and eyesore demolition are among the benefits stemming from the Atlantic City Tourism District so far. But the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's plan to establish measurable goals to ensure progress continues, CRDA board members said today.
CRDA Interim Executive Director Susan Ney Thompson presented a 90-day retrospective today that highlighted accomplishments since the CRDA-run district launched April 19.
"Overall, I think we've been very busy," she said.
State laws establishing the district put the CRDA in charge, meaning planning and zoning authority - which required establishing a new division to handle those responsibilities - and enveloping the previously-autonomous Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority and Special Improvement District, or SID.
Gov. Chris Christie's advisory Hanson Commission meetings informed those laws and also produced a report that included several goals that the commissioners felt could help Atlantic City establish itself as an international destination.
Of the few quantifiable objectives, the goal closest to being realized, was the one that aimed for the ACCVA to increase convention business by 30 percent. The ACCVA at least doubled its objectives for three of four indicators and came within four percentage points on the fourth. The others were July 1 deadlines for finishing the district Master Plan and achieving making the area clean and safe.
The CRDA is a month away from hiring the planning consultant, who will work toward the new Feb. 1, 2012 due date for the master plan.
As for clean and safe, that's unclear - and that ambiguity is just what CRDA Board member Howard Kyle called today to eliminate.
"We need to establish quantifiable goals," Kyle said. "There's no way you can be general when you want to make progress."