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October 2, 2014

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



(14/P110) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today joined Camden and Salvation Army officials in announcing the completion of the multimillion-dollar Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, constructed on a remediated landfill to provide athletic, social, cultural and recreational services to Camden families.

The DEP has played a pivotal role in the project since its inception more than eight years ago by providing technical and logistical expertise as well as $26 million for remediation of the former Harrison Avenue Landfill that made construction of the 120,000-square-foot center possible.

“This is an exciting time for Camden and its residents,” Commissioner Martin said. “This project will achieve a very important environmental goal - the proper closure of a long-neglected landfill. But, more important, this project gives families and residents a spectacular, state-of-the-art community center to serve as a beacon of change and hope. We are proud to be partners in helping to rebuild and revitalize Camden.”

Commissioner Martin joined Mayor Dana Redd, Senator Donald Norcross, and Salvation Army Majors Paul and Alma Cain on a tour of the center, built near the Delaware River in the city’s Cramer Hill section.The center will be formally dedicated during a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 3.

“We have built this center to provide opportunities for people of all ages, from Camden and surrounding communities, to build better lives,” said Major Alma Cain.

Although the Salvation Army in Camden received $59 million from the Joan Kroc estate to be split between construction costs and a permanently restricted operating endowment, by design $10 million needed to be raised locally to cover the remaining construction costs. Individuals, foundations and corporate gifts have helped complete the local fundraising campaign leading to the Grand Opening.

Major gifts have come from the Campbell Soup Company, Domenica Foundation, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Jersey American Water, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, South Jersey Young Professionals Association, Subaru of America, Wells Fargo Foundation, William G. Rohrer Foundation, and many other corporations, foundations and individuals.

“I welcome one and all, from Camden and all around the region to the Kroc Center,” Mayor Redd said. “I couldn’t be more proud to have Camden as the home of this magnificent structure that is filled with hope and love; programs and services; health and fitness activities and tons of fun.”

The Salvation Army Center was constructed with a host of amenities and services,including a gymnasium, an indoor competition pool and water park, black box theater, community gathering plaza, media center, learning center, culinary arts teaching kitchen, choice food pantry, early childhood education center, teen center, senior center, athletic fields and health clinic.

“With the help of a dedicated staff, talented consultants, and countless volunteers we hope this Center will be recognized as the beacon of hope and agent of change Mrs. Kroc desired when she left her gift to The Salvation Army,” said Major Paul Cain.

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

Landfill materials, mostly household refuse and construction debris, were cleared from a 24-acre area serving as the center’s campus at the northern end of the former landfill and moved to its southern end.

The DEP will be working closely with local officials to develop the 53-acre southern end as a park and greenway along the river. The greenway will provide trails, wetlands and a living shoreline to help connect residents to nature, including bald eagles in the area.

More than 220,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the Delaware River over the years and stored at a DEP-owned confined disposal facility at Palmyra Cove were used in the capping and grading of the site.

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 was largely grown over with trees and wild shrubs, it was never closed in accordance with state environmental regulations.

Working with the Camden Redevelopment Agency, the DEP and New Jersey Economic Development Authority have provided $22 million in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund grants for landfill investigation and remediation efforts.  The DEP’s Publicly Funded Cleanup Program provided an additional $4.1 million.

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Last Updated: October 3, 2014