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news releases

December 9, 2010

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994


(10/P142) TRENTON - Commissioner Bob Martin today joined Camden and Salvation Army officials in ceremonies launching the capping of the former Harrison Avenue Landfill, marking a milestone in the development of a multimillion-dollar Salvation Army community center that will provide social, cultural and recreational services in one of the nation’s poorest cities.

“We are reclaiming this landfill so that the Salvation Army can transform lives,” Commissioner Martin said during a news conference at the landfill. “The DEP is proud to be playing an integral part in moving this wonderful and much-needed redevelopment project forward. I commend the Salvation Army, Mayor Dana L. Redd and the Camden Redevelopment Agency for their vision and commitment to bringing the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center to reality.

“This project will achieve a very important environmental goal - the proper closure of a long-neglected landfill,” Commissioner Martin said. “But this project is really about giving the community hope through a spectacular, state-of-the-art complex that will serve as a beacon of change for families and residents of Camden. This is an investment in the city’s future and an example of Governor Christie’s commitment to the economic redevelopment of New Jersey’s cities.”

The DEP’s Site Remediation Program and Office of Brownfield Reuse have been spearheading the redevelopment project through site investigations, remediation, and development of the landfill capping and clearing plan.

Landfill materials will be cleared from the footprint of the 120,000-square-foot community center which will house facilities to provide recreational, athletic, educational, cultural, and community services. The remainder of the landfill will be capped. Much of the remainder of the 24-acre Kroc Center campus site will be developed with outdoor athletic facilities and parking.

“The Kroc Center represents yet another major step in our efforts to building strong communities and moving Camden forward,” Mayor Redd said. “Once completed, the Kroc Center will create a safe and state-of-the art community center that will truly benefit the residents of Camden. In addition, the Kroc Center will generate more than 250 potential job opportunities for Camden City residents. I thank the DEP and the Salvation Army for making this groundbreaking a reality. Continuing to build public-private partnerships will assist my administration’s goal in building a brighter future for Camden.”

The estate of philanthropist Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, provided the Camden Chapter of the Salvation Army a $59 million grant to build and operate the center. The Salvation Army is also raising funds in the community for construction and operation. Work to clear and cover the landfill began this week. Construction on the community center is targeted to begin in the spring.

“This day marks a significant milestone toward the construction of the Kroc Community Center,” said Major Paul Cain, Kroc Center Administrator and Tri-County Coordinator. “We are grateful for the support and leadership shown by the staff at the DEP. Without their talents, their time, and their commitment toward the remediation of the Harrison Avenue Landfill, building a Kroc Center in Camden would have been difficult.”

The DEP is also working with the city, community leaders and environmental groups in developing a plan for retaining portions of the area that are not part of the community center project as a greenway along the waterfront. The greenway will provide trails and recreated wetlands to help connect residents to nature, including American bald eagles in the area.

The Harrison Avenue Landfill sits at the confluence of the Delaware and Cooper rivers and was used as Camden’s municipal dump from 1952 until 1971. Although it is now largely grown over with trees and wild shrubs, it was never closed in accordance with state environmental regulations.

This project will result in the proper closure. More than 220,000 cubic yards of sandy materials dredged from the Delaware River over the years and stored at the Palmyra Cove Confined Disposal Facility in nearby Palmyra will be used to grade and cover the landfill. The state is saving $3 million by using materials from the state-owned storage facility. The dredge materials will be covered in topsoil and planted with grass, trees and shrubs.

Working with the Camden Redevelopment Agency, the DEP and New Jersey Economic Development Authority have provided $20 million in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund grants for landfill investigation and remediation efforts. This fund is supported by a constitutionally dedicated portion of the Corporate Business Tax.

The landfill primarily contains household refuse and construction debris. The DEP’s Site Remediation Program funded and removed a pocket of industrial waste buried in the landfill’s southern end in 2008. The community center will be constructed on the opposite end of the landfill.

The Kroc Center will have a host of amenities and services including a family center, youth and senior center, learning center, health center, chapel, gymnasium, aquatic center, day care center and dance center, dance studio, black box performance theater, and town plaza.

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Last Updated: December 9, 2010