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CRDA gives approvals for Margaritaville at Resorts, capital projects

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The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gave preliminary approval for Margaritaville at Resorts, as well as approving funding for other improvements in Atlantic City.

CRDA approved $250,000 in capital development grants to five nonprofits in New Jersey at its board meeting Tuesday.

The projects funded by the money include improved lighting at Historic Gardner's Basin and improvements to an outdoor recreation area.

Neighborhood improvements to the Gardner's Basin area have been a focus of capital investment in the city in recent years.

"Redevelopment takes many forms," CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said in a statement. "Today's grant approvals will positively enhance the lives of Atlantic City residents."

CRDA Chairman James Kehoe said the approvals were significant.

He said having Margaritaville's LandShark Bar & Grill on the beach would become a destination.

“I don’t think there’s a more recognized brand of a component of something to do (at a casino) that isn’t gambling as Margaritaville in this country," Kehoe said.

Kehoe said it was fortunate that Resorts was able to become partners with Margaritaville.

"It’s going to create a lot of excitement," he said.

Kehoe also said the local capital investment projects were important for the economy.

"Even though it’s a smaller number, if you’re not including the community in Atlantic City, the model doesn’t work," Kehoe said. "They’re all integral components of having AC’s renaissance become successful."

Gov. Chris Christie had hailed the arrival of singer Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant at a press conference on Tuesday. Christie said the project would help transform the city, which is two years into a five-year commitment from Christie to oppose expansion of gaming elsewhere in the state.

CRDA also approved a new public policy leadership development program for Atlantic City. The agency will work with Richard Stockton College of New Jersey on the program, which is intended for experienced and emerging leaders committed to building a stronger community through civic engagement and empowerment.

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