Camden’s Revitalization In the News

Cooper University Health Care is proud to be part of the transformation of our Camden community, our home for more than 130 years. Employment in the city of Camden has increased 24.7% in the past few years – with 55.4% of those jobs in the health care and education sectors – and our neighborhoods are safer, too, with the crime rate at a 50 year low. We’re excited to see this revitalization take place.

Read more about what people are saying about Camden Rising.

Camden Annual Report

Camden is seeing marked improvements in the economic, health, educational, and social well being of its residents. Cooper University Health Care’s hometown of Camden is, once again, becoming a great place to work, visit, and live. Learn more about this remarkable progress, and what is being done to maintain this momentum.

Report highlights vast socioeconomic gains in Camden

This report officially confirms what many of us have observed first-hand over the past several years – that Camden is rising. The report, prepared by Econsult Solutions and lauded by former Governor James J. Florio in the introduction, compiles and evaluates a vast array of socioeconomic indicators, revealing just how Camden streets have grown dramatically safer, Camden schools significantly stronger, and our economy more robust.

Media Coverage

Booker, Menendez and N.J.’s former governors want everyone to know this one thing about Camden

“Camden is in the midst of a remarkable transformation. It is systematically becoming a 21st century “eds and meds,” manufacturing and innovation hub. But we are cognizant that more has to be done. We want to state clearly that allowing the progress we’ve made to stop, or worse, recede, is unacceptable. It would be a disservice to the people who live in Camden and to the state’s taxpayers who will have to continue subsidizing the city ad infinitum.

“State and regional leaders must join Camden’s government, residents, religious, non-profit, and businesses stakeholders by committing to being part of the city’s progress. We strongly believe that business leaders need to continue to make the investments in the city they’ve committed to, including hiring Camden residents; and community leaders need to hold them to their commitments to make Camden a better place to live and work. Camden is experiencing a renaissance that should – that must – continue.”

-Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, with additional signatories,

Hilton breaks ground on Camden’s 1st hotel in decades

“Scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, the Hilton (NYSE: HLT) will be the first hotel built in Camden in over 50 years and the first hotel operating in the city since the now-razed Plaza Hotel closed in 1985.

“It’s expected to generate up to 75 jobs once it’s open.

“The hotel will have 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant and bar, and 18 suites for longer-term stays, driven by demand from local education and medical institutions, and area businesses.”

Kenneth Hilario, Philadelphia Business Journal

New jobs, new look for old Camden sites as EMR expands

“With the expansion will come new jobs, Balzano said, as many as 200 of them, in addition to the 120 people already employed by EMR in Camden in a variety of roles — about 65 of them Camden residents.

“And the jobs are good ones, and not just by Balzano’s account.

“In terms of the opportunity to make a good living, (EMR) is up there with the best of them,” said Howard Wells, president of Teamsters Local 676, which represents many of EMR’s employees.”

-Phaedra Trethan, Courier Post

Camden Little League Opening Day (Video on Facebook)

Saturday, June 8th, was Camden Little League’s Opening Day, where Camden’s boys and girls took to Camden parks to get their game on. Learn more about these spectacular parks below, but don’t miss this video highlighting some of the best moments of this special day.

From Parking Lot to Panoramic Park on Camden’s Waterfront

Shaniyla Johnson stretched out on a berm at RCA Pier, the newest park along the Camden Waterfront, her feet bare on the newly-installed sod.

“This was my plan for today,” the Parkside resident said, and given the oppressive humidity in the air and the relief of a gentle breeze coming off the Delaware River in front of her, it was obvious she planned well.

She’d walked by the pier, a former parking lot behind the new American Water headquarters, about a month ago with her mother, she recalled, and the two talked about how much they would enjoy the park once it opened.

The ribbon was officially cut on the park Thursday afternoon, with Camden Mayor Frank Moran, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership CEO Kris Kolluri, Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash and officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection, William Penn Foundation and American Water standing atop the berm and snipping in blue band strung between a pair of saplings.

-Phaedra Trethan, Courier Post

After Nearly 20 Years, Gateway Park Opens to the Public

The stretch of Admiral Wilson Boulevard that runs between Camden and Pennsauken used to be home to seedy hotels, gas stations and bars that were notorious for the trafficking of drugs and prostitution.

As local officials were gathered on that same land nearly 20 years later, a lot had changed — a point emphasized by a bald eagle that flew over the Camden County Board of Freeholders Monday morning ribbon cutting celebration of the county’s newest open space, Gateway Park.

“I can’t believe I’m finally here,” Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash, liaison to the Camden County Parks Department, said during his opening remarks on Monday. “There’s nothing more symbolic of the great City of Camden’s renovation, restoration and revitalization than the change to this property, because 20 years ago this property was filthy and had seedy-types of establishments.”

-George Woolston,

Camden’s Lanning Square Park set to undergo $1.4 million renovation

In an effort to revitalize Camden, Lanning Square Park will undergo a $1.4 million renovation.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon. As it sits now, the park at Fourth and Clinton Streets isn’t pretty, but that’s all about to change.

“There will be basketball courts and places to play. There will be a small ampitheater for performances. There will be playground equipment,” said County Freeholder Jeff Nash.

Nash says it took a lot of people working together to get to this point.

“When I look at the children and see the smiles on their faces, you know that this is really their city. This is their future,” he said.

-Mike Dougherty, KYW

East Camden Park Opens to Splashes, Smiles and Slides

There were plenty of ways to beat the heat Wednesday at Alberta Woods Park.

A water ice cart offered sweet frozen treats. Tall trees towered over the newly-renovated park, giving shade. Fresh, lush grass was a soft, cool contrast to the broiling asphalt.

And best of all, water gushed from pipes and fountains in the new splash pad, delighting little ones and even provoking a few adults to kick off their shoes and cool their heels.

Children from the East Camden neighborhood and Mastery schools nearby took advantage of all of those features of the park, seeking respite not only from the school day but also from the oppressive temperatures.

-Phaedra Trethan, Courier Post

Camden’s test scores aren’t the only thing going up around here — so is the quality of our school buildings themselves. From 2009 to 2019, an incredible $465 million was invested in building and renovating no fewer than 14 neighborhood schools across the city, from Centerville to Whitman Park to Cramer Hill. Check out this map showing just where each of these schools is located, and don’t miss the great clips below highlighting a few of Camden’s tremendous educational success stories.

See the map

Community Celebrates Early Construction on New Camden High School

As published by on June 19, 2019

Photo by Camden City School District.

When the school long known as the “Castle on the Hill” was torn down, those in the area wondered if another truly would rise in its place.

Demolition on the century-old Camden High School began a little more than a year ago, with pieces of the building salvaged for use again. But members of the community worried that the 1700 block of Park Boulevard would instead be plucked for residential development, or that construction for the planned modernized facility would stall for an indefinite time.

The concerns could be tossed aside Wednesday afternoon as the New Jersey Schools Development Authority gave tangible evidence — cranes, steel, and the ceremonial mound of dirt and shovels — that it was certainly following through on a $133 million commitment made three years earlier.

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From Juvenile Delinquent to Juris Doctor: Camden Woman Keeps her Promise to the Judge Who Gave Her a Break 12 Years Ago

As published by The Philadelphia Inquirer on June 23, 2019

When a Family Court judge gave her a second chance after a brush with the law, Carmen Day promised to return to his courtroom one day — as a lawyer.

Twelve years later, Day is just a semester away from fulfilling her dream. She is a third-year student at Rutgers-Camden Law School and has reunited with Judge Charles Dortch, who adjudicated Day so long ago.

It has been a long journey for Day, 29, of Sicklerville, from the past that nearly landed her behind bars as a teenager. Her time before the judge was a wake-up call to turn her life around and pursue a childhood dream.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer,” Day said during an interview on the Rutgers campus. “I didn’t want to tarnish my record and hurt my chances.”

Born in Camden, Day was raised by her mother and stepfather and her biological father. Her legal troubles began when she enrolled at nearby Pennsauken High school and succumbed to peer pressure from her boyfriend and friends. The once A+ student thought about dropping out of school, but her mother, also named Carmen, refused to allow it.

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McCOMBS: Continuing the Progress and Looking Toward the Future

At the close of the 2018-19 academic year, I want to congratulate Camden City School District’s students, educators, staff, and supporters on another successful year full of milestones and academic achievement.

The mantra around the city as of late has been “Camden Rising,” an encapsulation of both the city’s various accomplishments in public safety and public health, as well as the literal rising of towers and buildings that mark an economic renaissance. Yet, there has been no single group that has embodied the spirit behind this slogan more than our schools and students. The goals they have set and met this year and in the last five years are emblematic of the city’s resurgence, and the widespread impact it is having on our communities.

As a 26-year educator in the Camden City School District, I have seen the district change and transform in various fashions for nearly three decades. I have seen periods of struggle, and I have seen upward trends that lifted our students to new heights. I have seen students leave Camden schools and accomplish incredible feats, and I have seen others falter without recovering. With all of this in mind, I can say with certainty, that today, Camden schools are on a path to progress unlike anything I have experienced since I was a Camden student myself, growing up on Morton Street.

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Building an Innovation Economy

With so many large and pioneering companies opening their doors in Camden, and small but mighty businesses taking root and blossoming here, there can no longer be any doubt that Camden is building an innovation economy. What exactly do we mean by “innovation economy,” you might ask? We mean an economy where forward-thinking businesses offer creative solutions in daring and brilliant ways. An economy that offers limitless potential for Camden and for our residents to grow.

This week, Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash wrote a fantastic op-ed on the winding road Camden has taken to get to this point, and Melanie Kennedy from American Water shares a piece that serves as a case study on how hiring practices in an innovation economy should work. Be sure not to miss these articles below — and while you’re at it, take a look at this short video on what an innovation economy means for Camden and for those who live here.

Watch the Video

Bill Clinton’s 1992 Vision for Camden Finally Takes Shape

As published by on July 2, 2019

On a summer day in 1992, I found myself among a large crowd inside the iconic RCA Building in Camden City, where recorded music was first put on vinyl. Then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton arrived at an otherwise desolate Camden waterfront for his first stop following his nomination at the Democratic National Convention in New York City. The future president spoke to jubilant supporters about his bold plans for urban renewal and the bright future envisioned for the city.

In the almost three decades that followed there have been many similar promises to rebuild one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States. Most plans were well-intentioned, and all were very expensive. But, despite these efforts, Camden remained impoverished, with limited opportunities for its residents.

Shortly after Clinton’s campaign visit, then-Gov. Jim Florio announced the “Camden Initiative.” The plan was abandoned after Republican Gov. Christie Whitman defeated Florio in a re-election bid.

Moving forward, the initiative was replaced by a Whitman plan to develop the waterfront and clean up Admiral Wilson Boulevard (in time for the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia), but it essentially ignored the city’s neighborhoods. The next Democratic governor, Jim McGreevey, attempted to correct course by investing $175 million into the neighborhoods, but the investment was spread too thin, given the enormous need. After that, the Great Recession handcuffed most economic opportunities for Camden that the Gov. Jon Corzine administration had been exploring.

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Our Workforce Should Reflect the Diversity of Our Customers, Camden-Based American Water Says

As published by on July 1, 2019

There was once a common misconception that the utility industry was a man’s world. And once upon a time, there may have been truth to that sentiment – but those days are long gone, especially at American Water, the largest publicly-traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company.

Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace is a business imperative for us. With 7,100 employees who are delivering water to 14 million people in 46 states and Canada, it’s critical that our workforce reflects our customers. We also know the value of bringing together people with diverse experiences and backgrounds to foster innovation and growth. We want all of our employees to experience a workplace environment where they have the opportunity to develop and achieve their full potential, because that’s good for our employees, our business and our customers.

As the company’s senior vice president of Human Resources, my priority is attracting and retaining the best talent out there, with a mind toward ensuring that our culture is inclusive and our teams are diverse. During my 12 years with American Water, my career has progressed by taking a unique path from labor employment attorney to joining and now leading the Human Resources team.

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