Gov. Chris Christie will announce plans for an historical takeover of the State of New Jersey’s endangered gaming industry and entertainment disctrict including the selling off and or shutting down of the failing Meadowlands Racetrack.
The takeover will remove all control from local governments from garbage pickup to police.
The Governor’s office put out an advisory this afternoon that Christie will announce the findings of the commission Wednesday at the meadowlands in East Rutherford and in Atlantic City but did not provide any details of the announcement.
These are the recommendations that are listed in the commission report:
• N.J. gaming industry massive overhaul: Winners & Losers
• Atlantic City’s entertainment and gaming districts would become an independent city within a city overseen by state government. That includes the casinos, the marina, beachfront and Boardwalk areas. Those parts of the city would all be put under the administration of a state authority directly answerable to governor.
• New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority would be all but disbanded, becoming simply a landlord for the facilities it now operates.
• The Meadowlands Racetrack could be sold for a token $1, or turned into an off-track wagering facility without live horse racing. The plan also recommends that the Izod Center arena be privatized or sold.
• In addition, the state would help re-finance the long-stalled Xanadu project in the Meadowlands, enabling a new developer to take control of the garish, high-visibility retail and entertainment complex alongside the New Jersey Turnpike that many consider an embarrassment.
• Financial aid to help complete Xanadu would be contingent on changing the building’s much-hated mutli-color exterior, and requiring that it be an entertainment complex, not simply another mall.
The recommendations were made by a seven-member commission headed by former sports authority chairman Jon F. Hanson, who ironically was one of the movers behind the expansion of the Meadowlands Sports Complex and the reach of the sports authority.
The report calls for the near-dismantling of the sports authority, which currently operates Meadowlands Racetrack and the Izod Center, Monmouth Park Racetrack, the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall and the Wildwood Convention Center.
Created by the Legislature in 1971, the authority is operating in the red this year, largely because of massive losses in horse racing, as well as funding lost with the closing of Giants Stadium. The old stadium had generated $20 million in income for the authority. Under terms of a deal with the Jets and Giants, however, the authority will see only $6.3 million in lease payments this season when the two football teams move to the privately operated New Meadowlands Stadium.