Way back in 1979 when the media asked me what was most needed to revitalize Atlantic City, I suggested a bulldozer eight blocks wide.

As you might imagine, my proposal was welcomed less than warmly.

Perhaps now is the time to make another radical suggestion that will once again generate scoff and derision: Privatize Atlantic City.

Since the political structure of the town has not served it well, and the casino industry is suffering, perhaps the city should look to private capital forces to solve its problems.

Incorporate Atlantic City as a private, for-profit business with stock ownership distributed to resident stakeholders. All underutilized land should be brought under corporate control for future development. A board of directors should be assembled from the private sector nationwide to consider a 20-year plan for establishing Atlantic City as the premier tourist destination for the entire nation, in which casinos are a minor part of the whole.

To accomplish this, a top turnaround CEO should be hired, and his first move should be to bring in the Danish government's Danish Architecture Center, which has had great success in revitalizing ancient Chinese tourist cities.

What Atlantic City has not been able to accomplish the last 40 years could perhaps be accomplished in the next 20 years with intelligent planning and private enterprise.

Now bring on the scoffers and the deriders. Should they have a better idea, or any idea, then let them be heard.



Reese Palley is a former longtime Atlantic City businessman.


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