Home » Ashley Burns Interviews Shelee McIlvaine

Ashley Burns Interviews Shelee McIlvaine


It seems as almost every time you read an article about Atlantic City it is either about the falling of the once great city or the efforts that are being put forward to rebuild Atlantic City. The media portrays this controversial topic in many lights; however, the residents of Atlantic City have the real knowledge of what needs to be done and what is already helping their environment.The government has full control of the rebuilding of Atlantic City in result making the residents of Atlantic County feel powerless and that they have no control over what the future of AtlanticCity.
With the government having full control of what is to happen to Atlantic City residents are forced to have trust in them. Shelee, my interviewee, said, “I only trust the government to make sure Atlantic City stays a float.” This statement is a reflection of a greater issue of that the residence understand that the government is just trying to make sure Atlantic City stays functioning and not that the government is there to help the life of the residents. My Interviewee has heard rumors that the government wants to implement new parks and work on boardwalk;however, she has no trust that it will get done. My interviewee receive her main knowledge about the government from the media making it hard for her to trust the efforts to make the residents life better and not just the success of the City due to the very skewed stories the media portrays.
The residents of Atlantic City have watched others come in as an effort to revive the city,but these investors have not communicated to the residents of Atlantic City to hear their input.Without the support from investors the residents of Atlantic County create their own meetings to address their concerns with their environment. This is where real conversations of what can benefit everyone and the City as well occur. Even though the government has power making the residents feel like they have no say, it inspires the community to come together and have their personal power and say. Not everyone talks at the meetings, like my interviewee; however, she explained to me that just her presence in numbers is her power. My interviewee stated, “I feel like I have to say. I do not feel like I have a say, but I have to say.” She attends residents meeting regularly and supports the effort to have a collaboration between residents and governments. The residents have so much power in their numbers and can truly make a difference. It is their environment and they have no say but that does not stop them. The residents fight back and create a voice for themselves. This shows so much about themselves and their environment. Just because the media portrays Atlantic City as a failed environment it does not stop the fighter’s spirt left in the City.
In relation to this class, we learned about the importance of interactions. In a class reading called “Remember the Fillmore” written by Jackson and Jones it talked about the importance of interactions between residents and government to better off the efforts to revive a community. I learned that there needs to be an equal conversation between government and residents. The residents understand their environment and can only help the government with their planning. Allowing for residents to be a part of the planning to revive Atlantic City will lead to success and build back that trust and power for all. From what I gather, Atlantic City revive planning should start with residents making it hopeful for the true revival of Atlantic City.