Tracey Thompson has been a small business owner in Atlantic City for over a decade, and has never seen the city take steps to help beautify the city until now. Friday Atlantic City announced it has received a 400,000 dollar grant from NJDOT to make improvements along Atlantic Avenue.
"I think its well overdue, I think that as small business owners in this area we've been here a long time and we would like to have nice benches here, and lighting and scaping and the walk looking as beautiful as it does and different areas of the city," says Thompson who is the owner of Millennium Cuts and Salon in Atlantic City.
According to reports, the bulk of the improvement project is aimed at making the strip safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Business owners like Thompson also see this as an opportunity to make dollars off of tourists as well.
"If it looks beautiful then they'll feel safe they'll want to spend money and take a stroll down Atlantic Avenue, versus just staying in that area, so it definitely will help us," says Thompson.
According to Mayor Langford the streetscape improvement project will take place between Indiana and MLK Jr. Boulevard. With bike racks, benches, and solar trash containers among some of the improvements.
"Better trees, decorative pavers, landscaping, decorative awnings all kinds of things, to make it look more pleasing," says Mayor Langford.
But some street vendors, like Muhsin Abdul-Raheem meet the project with some skepticism.
"As long as they not trying to get rid of me they can do what they got to do. "I hope it helps, but I don't know, I have to wait and see what happens," says Abdul-Raheem.
Atlantic City officials say that future projects will be in the works to continue to beautify Atlantic Avenue. But business owners like Thompson feel that some change is better than none.
"Any beautification project in this area will always help business. I welcome the new change and the new grant to this area," says Thompson.