About this project

Atlantic City’s path toward reinvention

After the rapid loss of jobs in Atlantic City in 2014, officials and residents alike had the same daunting question: “How can the city rebuild itself?”

The city’s casino market was shrinking, home foreclosures soared and thousands of people moved out of the area in search of a better life elsewhere.

At The Press, we created a project called Reinventing AC, suggesting 10 big ideas we thought could move the city forward, and asked readers to share theirs. We collected more than 400 thoughtful comments from folks, and published a two-page graphic presenting the ideas.

A year later, we followed up to see what action had been taken toward completing any of the ideas, which included suggestions such as building a water park, booking more conventions and introducing sports betting to the city.

Since then, Stockton University built its Atlantic City campus, South Jersey Industries and other smaller businesses have emerged in the city, and two shuttered properties have reopened as Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

But challenges remain.

Jim Johnson, special counsel to Gov. Phil Murphy, released a report on Sept. 20, 2018 outlining the ongoing issues and solutions to this familiar question: Given its history of poverty, blight, and lack of leadership, how can Atlantic City move forward?

Using the report as a guide, our Reinventing AC project will explore the proposed solutions and real obstacles to enacting the recommendations outlined there. Over the course of 2019, we’ll try to address the complicated issues that have long kept Atlantic City from sustained success.

Every month, we will focus on a central issue: entrenched poverty, quality of life, job opportunities, education, diversity, infrastructure and more.

Our goal is to ignite a conversation among city residents — and those whose lives are impacted by the city’s success or failure.

-Kris Worrell, Executive Editor and Vice President, News


Based on reporting by: David Danzis, Michelle Brunetti-Post, Avalon Zoppo, Colt Shaw, Claire Lowe, Molly Bilinski, Vincent Jackson, Amanda Auble

Visuals: Gail Wilson, Krishna Mathias, Lauren Carroll, Edward Lea, Craig Matthews

Editing: Nicholas Huba, Emily Lingo, Dan Grote, Gail Wilson, Mark Melhorn

Supervising Editors: Kris Worrell, W.F. Keough

Design & Development: Mike DellaVecchia

Sources: Atlantic City Department of Licensing and Inspection, Atlantic City Police Department, New Jersey Bureau of Rooming and Boarding House Standards, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. 

Support our journalism

Become a Press of Atlantic City digital subscriber today to read more stories like this one.
Get full digital access to the news that makes South Jersey for just $3.95 for the first three months.