Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI)

Drone photo of 2nd Street Park. [NJDEP Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, 2020.]
Partners from NJDEP OBCR, NJDEP C&E, Camden County Metro Police, Camden Department of Public Works, Camden Redevelopment Agency, and BRS, Inc. following site cleanup, demolition, and remediation. [Jimmy Douglas, NJDEP Natural & Historic Resources, April 10, 2019.]

Camden Labs, Camden

The Camden Labs facility in the Whitman Park neighborhood was one of the largest illegal dumping locations in Camden. The four-acre site is surrounded by community recreational fields, Brimm Medical Arts High School, and residential areas. Children often walked through this illegal dump site on their way to school. Additional illegal activities occurring on the property had a profoundly negative impact on the health, safety, and quality of life in the neighborhood.

The Camden Collaborative Initiative worked closely with the Camden Housing Authority to help the City of Camden receive a $13.2 million HUD Implementation Grant. The grant brought increased attention to the Whitman Park neighborhood and catalyzed CCI, NJDEP Compliance & Enforcement Program, Camden County Metro Police, Camden Department of Public Works, and Qstar Technologies to join forces, install cameras, and secure the Camden Labs site. This resulted in the identification and prosecution of several illegal dumping perpetrators.

Concurrently, NJDEP Office of Brownfield & Community Revitalization (OBCR) assisted Camden Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in taking ownership of Camden Labs. OBCR then helped CRA secure $1.5 million in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund grants and over $600,000 in EPA Brownfields grants to remove the waste, demolish the seven on-site dilapidated buildings, and investigate and remediate the property.

CCI and OBCR are working with local partners to incorporate the former Camden Labs into the adjacent park; CCI and stakeholders are working to educate residents on how to report illegal dumping through the Camden Reports phone application. Transforming this blighted site into an open recreational space will promote the quality of life for Whitman Park residents.

For more information, click here.