ATLANTIC CITY — The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a $750,000 contract with a local advertising agency Tuesday to market the city as it begins to resume business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The CRDA Board of Directors agreed to a one-year deal with Masterpiece Design, of Atlantic City, at its monthly meeting.
Executive Director Matt Doherty said CRDA had intended to engage in a scaled-up marketing campaign this year before COVID-19 forced nearly all retail, hospitality and entertainment in the city to close. Atlantic City’s nine casinos have been closed since March 16 — the longest such stretch since gaming was legalized in New Jersey more than 42 years ago — to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Doherty said the CRDA has been in discussions with Gov. Phil Murphy’s staff to coordinate “what kind of message should be coming out regarding Atlantic City as a destination” when the casinos and other businesses reopen.
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“Given the fact that COVID-19 has closed down the casinos for the last several months, this marketing and advertising campaign takes on a whole new meaning and a whole new importance,” he said.
The CRDA reimbursed Atlantic City $45,873 for a COVID-19 public outreach campaign in the Tourism District. City officials have kept the beaches and Boardwalk open since the onset of the pandemic and put out signage encouraging social distancing.
The Salvation Army received $75,000 for its food pantry. To date, the CRDA has allocated more than $994,000 for food programs and social services in response to the coronavirus. CRDA officials said the need for food in Atlantic City is still great, and the agency will continue to distribute resources as needed.
In other business, CRDA approved two contracts totaling more than $278,000 for upgrades to Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Integrated Systems & Service Inc. was awarded a contract not to exceed $120,048 for work to upgrade the video management and surveillance storage systems. Massett Building Company was awarded a contract not to exceed $158,486 for modifications to the building’s loading dock.
The board also allocated $76,000 to Langan Engineering & Environmental Services Inc. to remedy a groundwater issue under the site of the proposed city supermarket. Doherty said the project has been delayed because of environmental issues at the site.