NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Gloucester City Mayor & Council Honor Frank Anello, Longtime Resident and Barber


August 26 TRENTON * The DEP has brokered an agreement that enables the Camden Redevelopment Agency to use dredged materials from a State-owned facility along the Delaware River in Palmyra to redevelop a Camden landfill as a multimillion-dollar Salvation Army community center, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

The work is made possible by agreements reached with National Amusements, the Burlington County Bridge Commission and the borough of Palmyra, and by the approval of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders.  National Amusements Inc. owns the land that once served as the Tacony-Palmyra Drive-In Theater, portions of which are subject to Burlington County Bridge Commission easements.

"This access agreement is an important milestone in the redevelopment of the Harrison Avenue Landfill, a project that is energizing Camden and its community leaders," Commissioner Martin said. "The DEP is committed to the Ray and Joan Kroc Center and to the people of Camden. When completed, it will serve educational, physical, cultural and social needs for city residents for many years to come."

The estate of philanthropist Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, has provided the Camden Chapter of the Salvation Army with a $54 million grant to build and operate the 132,000-square-foot community center. Among its many services, the center will house a family service center, an arts center, a recreation center, aquatic center, library, health center, and child care center that will be augmented by outdoor athletic fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and concession stands.

The agreements with National Amusements and the bridge commission allow construction and use of a haul road connecting Route 73 to the Palmyra Cove Nature Park for access to the 22-acre dredge disposal area owned by the DEP.  A Camden Redevelopment Agency contractor will use the access road as it moves de-watered dredged materials to Camden.

The cooperation and assistance of the Burlington County Bridge Commission, Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Palmyra Cove Nature Center and Palmyra Borough, as well as funding from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, were crucial to making this project a reality.

The DEP plans to move about 200 trucks of dredged material from Palmyra Cove daily. The shipping of the materials is expected to begin by early October weeks and take three to four months to complete. By using fill material from the Palmyra Cove disposal facility, the DEP will save more than $3 million dollars because it will not have to buy fill on the open market.

More than 220,000 cubic yards of de-watered material * sand dredged during the maintenance of the Delaware River's shipping channel * will be used to cover and grade some 35 acres of the Harrison Avenue Landfill. As a result of this project, the former municipal dump will be properly closed in accordance with DEP requirements and prepared for construction of the community center. 

The balance of the landfill site is expected to be developed into a 60-acre city park, with a mile-long greenway along the river that will offer significant eagle habitat protection and enhancement.

The DEP's Brownfield Development Area Program has worked closely with Camden officials, the Camden Redevelopment Agency, Salvation Army Camden, Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation, Coopers Ferry Development Association and Cramer Hill residents since 2006 to investigate the Harrison Avenue Landfill and prepare for the Kroc Center redevelopment. 

Working with the Camden Redevelopment Agency, the DEP has already awarded more than $14 million in grants through its Hazardous Discharge and Site Remediation Fund to investigate and remediate the landfill. The constitutionally dedicated fund is supported by money from the state's Corporate Business Tax. 

In addition, the DEP has funded another $4 million in remediation activities to support future redevelopment of this site by removing 14,000 tons of industrial waste material from a different section of the old landfill.  Any waste found in the footprint of the building will be removed.

In the past, materials from the Palmyra Cove disposal facility have been used to redevelop the Camden Waterfront, including the site of the current Susquehanna Bank Center.