Improved City Hall courtyard in Atlantic City will be named for late N.J. Lt. Gov. Oliver

As commissioner of community affairs, Oliver oversaw the shore town. Construction is expected to be completed in early fall.

Sheila Oliver

File: Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver during a bill signing ceremony at the state capital in Trenton, N.J., Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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By early fall, the courtyard in front of Atlantic City Hall will have a whole $5 million facelift.

Officials in the shore resort city broke ground last Wednesday to construct a new and improved courtyard, which will be named in honor of New Jersey’s first Black lieutenant governor, Sheila Y. Oliver.

It’s the second honor for the beloved political trailblazer. At the beginning of the month, the Center for Politics and Race in America at Rutgers University-Newark was named for Oliver.

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“She was definitely a champion for the city,” said city spokesman Andrew Kramer, pointing out that Oliver led the state’s oversight of Atlantic City in her dual role as commissioner of N.J. Department of Community Affairs. Kramer credited her for championing the city’s effort to create an anti-violence program along with building programs that offered services for youth and seniors. He said the courtyard upgrades are being funded through grant money.

“She had a very, very close professional relationship with our mayor, Marty Small Senior, and [they] had a very close personal relationship [as well],” Kramer added. “They were very good friends and she always would fight for Atlantic City.”

Oliver, 71, died after a brief illness last August.

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Kramer said there have been discussions about revamping the courtyard “for a while.”

Oliver’s family and friends joined city officials and Jacquelyn Suarez, current commissioner of community affairs, at the groundbreaking ceremony that took place Wednesday.

The new courtyard will have enhanced security and safety features, including improved lighting, built-in benches and a rain garden. The walkway leading to the main entrance of City Hall will be covered.

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