The Atlantic County Community has been in a constant struggle for the past decade. Due to the closing of the casinos and the decline of the economy, the condition of Atlantic County has led the State of New Jersey to intervene, in the process of issuing a takeover. During this take over the state would decide what to do with eliminating the debt that was accumulated and that may involve selling the county’s assets and making other various decisions that may go against the wishes of Atlantic County residents. I believe allowing the state to take over is a bad idea because in time, Atlantic County will be able to eliminate their debt on their own. Atlantic County can improve their economy by establishing balance throughout the communities and increasing the cooperation of its residents.
By achieving balance, Atlantic County can build revenue by working with investors and promoting tourism, while also making compromises to serve the needs of the residents. During my interview with an Atlantic County resident Pastor William Williams, he mentioned that housing developments and investment projects were already in the works. This is a good start to bring in revenue but a lot more will need to be done to save Atlantic County. Atlantic County residents must make compromises to meet the restoration of the economy as well. Atlantic County residents should cooperate with redevelopers and help support investment projects that want to come in and make changes toward improving the county. In turn a contract agreement should be made between both sides to protect the residents, ensuring that they will not be displaced, taken advantage of, and priced out of their homes through gentrification. Gentrification is a process of removing an unwanted population to move in a higher class population by redeveloping the area to upper class standards and raising the cost of living. In a reading called, “Remember the Fillmore”, the Fillmore district located in San Francisco suffered economically after the end of WWII, which resulted in the district becoming a slums. (Jackson and Jones 2012) City officials and housing redevelopers intervened by tearing down the neighborhoods, promising to restore the residents to their homes but never fulfilled their promises, resulting in the displacement of thousands of people. What happened at the Fillmore was originally a plot to remove an unwanted population with the goal to eventually bring in a more desirable one but now that we are aware of the risks that come with housing redevelopment, that doesn’t mean we should avoid it completely. With the knowledge of what happened in the past, county residents can take special measures to prevent gentrification and repeating the same mistakes that happened in the Fillmore.
Atlantic County can become more unified by improving the cooperation between the residents and the city officials. My interviewee mentioned that there was division among the people. There are like minded people who are working together to have protests and attend local meetings but there are also residents who aren’t involved in the movement. Efforts should be made to reach out to these individuals and get them involved. It’s important to get everybody on board in these difficult times because the voice of the people makes a difference when they are united. Atlantic County residents must make themselves heard and show that they belong. The people and city officials must also cooperate more to reach a mutual understanding. Any plans or ideas that involves changing the county should be shared and consulted with the residents because they are the ones who will be effected by these changes. Improving communications between city officials and the residents will improve trust and cooperation. Uniting the people of Atlantic County is important because a common goal can be established that will help aid in the restoration of the economy
The people of Atlantic County must come together to achieve balance and improve cooperative efforts among each other to save their land. This may include compromises to be made, but it is a necessary sacrifice or else the people won’t have any voice if the State ever succeeds to take over. The state has no ties to the community and Atlantic County Residents view the State as evil oppressors who have no concern for their wellbeing. I know that in the States attempt to eliminate the debt, they could risk destroying communities in Atlantic County along with their cultures and this would be harmful to their environment. The idea behind environment and power are important concepts we must learn to grasp because cultures help form the economic base of a city. (Zukin 1995) The presence of cultures is what draws in investors and tourists to promote revenue, and how well a city does will determine what powers may intervene with the function of the city, such as the State take over. The best way to save Atlantic County is for its people to invite changes and while accepting some consequences that may come with it. Therefore change is necessary to set Atlantic County on a different path in hopes of one day restoring it to its former glory.