More great news from Camden, and we can’t wait for 2019!!!
A LOOK BACK AT 2018 – A PIVOTAL YEAR FOR CAMDEN
To say 2018 was an exciting and landmark year for Camden is an understatement. Our streets have become safer, our schools stronger, and our economy more robust. Our neighbors have grown closer, our art community more inspired, and our green spaces more accessible.
So as we embark on a new year, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of some of our most important and memorable milestones of 2018 – as well as to thank you for all of your support and collaboration along the way. We firmly believe the best is yet to come for our great city. Camden is truly Rising!
Frank Moran, Mayor, City of Camden, & Co-Chair, Cooper's Ferry Partnership
Susan Bass Levin, Co-Chair, Cooper's Ferry Partnership
Kris Kolluri, President & CEO, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership
2018 CONNECT THE LOTS SEASON A COMPLETE SUCCESS
Connect the Lots, a collaboration between Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, the City of Camden, Get Healthy Camden, and the Camden Promise Zone, sponsors a variety of fun –and free! – outdoor activities designed to entertain residents and invigorate vacant, underutilized neighborhood spaces, aiding in community transformation.
In 2018, Connect the Lots offered over 100 outdoor community events from May to October that reached more than 13,000 residents. From outdoor movies to lunchtime concerts to signature events like Camden Night Gardens and the Camden Peace Games, there was something for everyone in Camden to enjoy this past summer season.
NEW OFFICE HEADQUARTERS WILL BRING CLOSE TO 1,000 JOBS TO CAMDEN
In June, Camden residents and community leaders gathered together to watch the last steel beam be placed on top of the newest office tower to be constructed on Camden’s waterfront. The ceremony marked the symbolic completion of the structural phase of the tower, which will serve as the new headquarters for three of New Jersey’s leading companies — Conner Strong & Buckelew, NFI, and The Michaels Organization. At 18 stories and 394,164 square feet, the tower is now the tallest building on Camden’s booming waterfront and will bring almost 1,000 jobs to the city. The building also boasts a rooftop helipad, a six-level parking garage, and an open-air piazza on the eighth floor with a view of the Philadelphia skyline.
CAMDEN’S TEST SCORES ARE RISING!
Camden's ongoing transformation took another step forward in September with the announcement that for the third year in a row, the majority of Camden’s district and renaissance schools improved their results on New Jersey's PARCC tests. While there is still much more to do, the progress is great news, and Camden’s leaders are focused on providing every child in the city the opportunity to succeed. Acting Superintendent Katrina McCombs in particular deserves a lot of credit for working with teachers, parents, and educational partners to improve test results.
CAMDEN’S NEIGHBORHOODS NOW SAFER
In November, we received official word from the New Jersey State Police that crime has plummeted in Camden over the first ten months of this year. Overall, violent crime is down by 22.5 percent since 2017, with declines of 19 percent for murders, 27 percent for assaults, 19 percent for burglaries, 12 percent for sex crimes, and 19 percent for robberies.
Camden has seen a remarkable drop in crime since it reformed its police force in 2013, moving from a city-only police force to a county-wide system. Credit for this dramatic turnaround is due to the leaders and officers of the Camden County Police Department, as well as the residents of this great city who are committed to making the city a safer place to live, work, and raise their families.
NEW MODERN, HIGH-QUALITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO BE DEVELOPED IN CENTERVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD
The revitalization of Camden’s Centerville neighborhood reached a milestone last year, as The Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) and The Michaels Organization officially broke ground on Branch Village Townhomes – a modern, high-quality affordable housing development on the former site of Clement T. Branch Village, the last traditional public housing development in the Mt. Ephraim corridor.
DEMOLITION UNDERWAY FOR NEW JERSEY’S LARGEST ILLEGAL DUMPING “HOTSPOT”
Mayor Frank Moran and the Camden Collaborative Initiative got together in August to celebrate the start of the Camden Laboratories demolition. Labeled New Jersey’s largest urban illegal dumping hotspot, the decrepit buildings comprising Camden Labs are located adjacent to a park and school, where they have negatively impacted the neighborhood for years. The demolition will transform the area for park space over the next year with the generous support of the EPA and NJ DEP.
CAMDEN PARKS GET MAKEOVERS!
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership joined the City of Camden and Camden County several times over the course of 2018 to celebrate the transformation of Camden parks. First on the list was Alberta Woods Park, which received a $775,000 investment in a new playground and sprayground, an irrigated lawn for sports practices and recreation, a stage for outdoor performances, a picnic area, a sidewalk around the perimeter of the park, and a rain garden to capture storm water.
Then former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski got in on the fun and helped CFP, the City, and Camden County celebrate the groundbreaking of the new and improved 4th and Washington Park. Set to reopen in the spring, the Lanning Square park will see $1.4 million in improvements courtesy of Camden County, with $100,000 provided by Ron Jaworski’s foundation, Jaws Youth Playbook.
And that’s not all – volunteers from Cooper University Health Care joined the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and South Jersey and Parkside Business and Community in Partnership to install the first United Way “Born Learning Trail” in Camden County – at Farnham Park! A national program, the trail is a series of 10 interactive signs and accompanying murals that offer fun learning activities for young children while helping parents and caregivers to also effectively engage them. The colorful outdoor classroom is sponsored by The Cooper Foundation and allows the local community to take part in enhancing the long-term success of its children.
RENOVATING HOMES AND CHANGING LIVES
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership is proud to report it has renovated a dozen homes in 2018 through programmed partnerships with the City of Camden, Comfort Partners, and the PSE&G Foundation. Continuing these programs with the aforementioned partners is important to CFP as a credible measure of positive impact to the residents of Camden – and our goal is to improve even more homes in 2019.
Check out the transformation of one Whitman home below.
COOPER'S FERRY PARTNERSHIP RECEIVES AN AWARD!
Last but not least, we are proud to announce that Cooper's Ferry Partnership received an award in 2018 – the "Lasting Achievement Award" from the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey! CFP was recognized for its longtime commitment and leadership in building strategic investment, sustainable innovation, and community collaboration. We look forward to another 35 years of working to strengthen the Camden region with our dedicated partners.