The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center Wins 2015 Governor’s Conference Award for Leading Public-Private Economic Development Partnership

Posted on: November 2nd, 2015 by Jeffrey Miller No Comments

Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center

11.02.2015 — The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, New Jersey, recently received a 2015 Excellence in Housing and Economic Development Award from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) at their annual Governor’s Conference held at the Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. The project was honored by NJHMFA in the Leading Public-Private Economic Development Partnership category for the ongoing impact it is making in the Camden community. We are proud to have been a part of this very important project and extend our congratulations to The Salvation Army Camden Citadel Corps for this honor.

“This year’s award recipients have all shown dedication and commitment to strengthening communities across the state and forming a foundation for economic growth.”

— DCA Commissioner Charles A. Richman (The Trentonian, 29 October 2015)

Nearly three football fields in length, and encompassing over 120,000 square feet, the new Kroc Center provides recreational, health, educational, cultural, family and spiritual programming to area residents, while simultaneously serving as the hub for Salvation Army services in the Tri-County region. The facility includes both indoor and outdoor recreational spaces—including basketball courts, a regulation little league baseball field with lighting for night games, a softball field, a soccer/lacrosse/field hockey pitch, meandering natural walking paths, a playground, as well as a concessions facility with restrooms. On-site parking has been provided for 250 cars, as well as additional space for bus parking.

The $90 million state-of-the-art Kroc Center project in Camden is one of twenty-seven similar community centers nationwide, funded in part through a $1.6 billion gift to The Salvation Army from the estate of Mrs. Joan Kroc, wife of the late McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. In the design and construction of these facilities throughout the country, The Salvation Army aims to create safe and vibrant gathering places within their respective communities, offering local area residents, both young and old, a place where they can come together for the purposes of education, exercise, worship, community engagement, health and social services, and a variety of other activities and civic amenities aimed at strengthening the social fabric. Ultimately, these centers are intended to act as catalysts in the revitalization of their respective cities. A central theme and guiding purpose throughout the entire project in Camden, from its inception through final completion, and a fundamental tenet in The Salvation Army’s mission in building these centers: provide to the local community A Beacon of Hope and an Agent of Change.

In partnership with a variety of agencies, including the Camden Redevelopment Authority (CRA), The Salvation Army, and other Cramer Hill stakeholders, a vision of the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park was born—providing a multi-phase plan for a new park and multi-use greenway trail, adjacent to the completed facility, that will extend along the length of the Cooper River and Delaware River Back Channel within the Cramer Hill neighborhood. In addition to plans for a new waterfront park, the major investment signified by The Kroc Center has also spawned a number of initiatives within the community aimed at preparing Cramer Hill neighborhoods and residents for the inevitable future growth and development to come.

Capitalizing on their natural assets and scenic locations for significant economic and recreational development, a number of neighborhood plans were drawn up in close coordination with the nearby Kroc Center development, creating an even more cohesive, intelligent and unified vision for the community’s approach toward future growth. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) played a critical role in the Kroc Center project by providing both ongoing technical and logistical expertise, as well as $26 million in funding aimed at the remediation of a 24-acre portion of the former Harrison Avenue Landfill—a 100-acre landfill owned and operated by the City of Camden from 1952 through 1971, and the selected future site for the Salvation Army’s planned Kroc Corps Community Center.

From the first day the Kroc Center opened its doors to the public in early October 2014, the center has been a vibrant, dynamic locus of community activity, with local residents enthusiastically taking advantage of the variety of recreational, social and cultural services offered. Youth athletic programs are occurring at night. The basketball courts outside are replete with neighborhood children playing pick-up games. The chapel is busy. The water park full. And the Health Clinic is open and providing much-needed, critical services to the community. As of February 26, 2015, only five months after opening, the center reports over 4,900 registered members, and over 55,000 unique instances of those members utilizing services at the facility.

You can read more about the Salvation Army project, as well as view more pictures of the completed facility, here.


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