Office of the Governor
Whitman Administration is Driving Force
in Admiral Wilson Boulevard's Redevelopment -
the South Jersey Gateway for Residents and Visitors
Commissioner Jane M. Kenny of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today took part in another important project for South Jersey's future when she drove a backhoe into the Admiral Lounge in Camden, a former go-go bar on Admiral Wilson Boulevard's south side, to begin the first major demolition in the restoration and redevelopment of this vital point of entry into the Garden State.
But before taking the first knock at a building demolition expected to take about five days, the Commissioner spoke about how redeveloping this area will enhance all the other good things that are happening in South Jersey under the Whitman administration - from the baseball park and Battleship coming to Camden's waterfront to the upcoming South Jersey light rail project that is about to begin and Atlantic City's economic growth.
"One year ago, Governor Whitman announced a major plan to transform Admiral Wilson into one of our state's most attractive gateways," said Kenny to an audience of state and local officials and union representatives. "A year ago the Governor made a commitment to transportation improvements, to open space preservation and to urban redevelopment in Camden County."
"The need was clear for the Governor," continued Kenny. "What was once a vibrant highway had become blighted over the years, and the presence of establishments like this one all too graphically symbolized a gateway in decay."
Kenny talked about the Admiral Wilson Boulevard Demolition Project in terms of the boulevard's south and north sides. On the south side, the project includes replacing rundown properties with beautiful parkland and giving visitors an unrestricted view of the Cooper River. The north side will once again become a focal point of economic development.
Also, Kenny touched upon the role that various departments are playing in the boulevard's redevelopment: The Department of Transportation has been laying new sidewalks and repairing the roadway, as well as other improvements. The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) has begun work to acquire properties, remove billboards and demolish buildings on both sides of the boulevard. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will help with the south side's redevelopment as a park, among other projects.
And the Commissioner singled out the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for its investment in Camden during the Whitman administration, including its role in the Gateway Project; $250,000 has been awarded through its New Jersey Redevelopment Authority to the DRPA.
"There's no question that we want Admiral Wilson Boulevard to look its best for all those who will visit this summer," said Kenny referring to the Republican National Convention that will take place July 31-August 4 in Philadelphia. "But we're in this for the long haul - here in Camden and in cities all over the Garden State."
According to Governor Whitman, the Admiral Wilson Boulevard Demolition Project should not be viewed as an isolated project - but rather it's part of her continuing effort to turn all of New Jersey's cities into great places in which to live, work and raise a family.
Announced in March 1999, the Gateway Project focuses on the transformation of Admiral Wilson Boulevard into an attractive gateway to Camden and the rest of South Jersey. Included in the Gateway Project is the acquiring and demolishing by the DRPA of a number of the boulevard's properties, such as the Admiral Lounge. The entire Gateway Project is estimated to cost approximately $45-50 million and will be funded by DOT, DRPA, DEP and DCA.