The Kroc Foundation donated $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army to build community centers in the most depressed neighborhoods in America. From 28 applications, the Salvation Army identified Camden Redevelopment Agency’s proposal as one of eight to be funded nationwide. The only property large enough to accommodate the new facility was the former 86-acre Harrison Avenue Landfill in the Cramer Hill neighborhood. For Camden to leverage their $59 million award, NJDEP needed to quickly mobilize. NJDEP Office of Brownfield and Community Revitalization (OBCR) took ownership of this project and amassed $25 million in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund grants, $4.1 million in publicly funded monies, and $1.6 million in USEPA Brownfield grants to investigate, remediate, and prepare the northeastern 24 acres of the landfill for the 120,000-square foot community center. NJDEP completed the sitework in an unprecedented six months – on average, a project of this complexity takes three years.
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is the largest community center of its kind in New Jersey. This transformative project consolidates an unprecedented array of services under one roof to over 8,000 residents, including: a health clinic, food pantry, social services, enrichment classes, recreational outlets, a competition pool, spiritual spaces, day/teen/senior care, summer camps, a water park, theater, and more.
Thanks to Camden’s preparedness, OBCR’s will, and the Kroc Foundation’s generosity, the ripple effect of this project will inspire the city’s renaissance.