Home Youth jersey Opening of the Whitman Park sports complex in Camden City

Opening of the Whitman Park sports complex in Camden City

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(Camden, NJ) – On Thursday, the Camden County Board of Commissioners joined Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski to officially open Whitman Park after over a year of construction, environmental remediation and revitalization, totaling over $8 million.

“As a father, coach and former athlete, I know how important quality sports fields are to sports programs for families, children and young people,” said Camden County Commissioner Al Dyer. . “This state-of-the-art complex will have a tremendous impact on our city’s youth, meet the needs of our active and vital youth sports programs, while providing recreation opportunities and exercise and fitness options to residents of the city. community of Whitman Park. and the city as a whole.

The Whitman Park improvements and expansion are part of Camden County’s ongoing $19 million commitment to improve 10 parks across the city. Camden County is administering the construction project, working with the Town of Camden and with project management support from the Camden Community Partnership through the Camden County Parks Department.

“The new, expanded Whitman Park provides modern recreational and sports facilities, a family-friendly community space for residents of all ages, and will serve as the neighborhood’s anchor for future development,” said Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen. “As a former athlete and coach, I am thrilled that the partnership with Camden County as well as our federal, state and philanthropic partners will provide our young athletes and residents with the sports facilities they deserve to play and practice the games. that they like. This park is also a shining example of our ongoing commitment to improving open spaces in our neighborhoods and how partnerships strengthen Camden.

Recently completed improvements include a new synthetic turf football field, major renovations to an existing baseball diamond, the construction of a second baseball diamond and the addition of new basketball courts. Other sports facility upgrades include new sports lighting, scoreboards, a new concession stand in the center of the park with storage, a small multi-purpose room and washrooms. A smaller concession building that previously existed was also replaced with a new building. The construction cost was $5 million to overhaul and expand the park on a 10-acre site. The environmental cleanup and demolition cost approximately $3 million.

The center of the renovated complex will also serve as the heart of the park as it includes a modern and fun play area with play equipment for children aged 2-5 and additional play equipment designed for children aged 5-12. This part of the park also has a covered pavilion and spray pad to keep residents cool during the hot spring and summer months. The renovations also include a walkway with lighting, which provides access to various park amenities, but also serves as a safe walking path for exercise. Additionally, new updated exercise stations have been added throughout the park to support physical fitness.

“Today marks another milestone in the city for equity and access to a recreation complex on par with our suburban counterparts,” Commissioner Jeffrey Nash said. “Plus, we’ve taken a place that was plagued by pollution and a relic of Camden’s industrial past and turned it into a 10-acre field of dreams for children and families in Whitman Park and across the country. This park is a testament to the teamwork and vision at all levels of government and the Commissioner’s commitment to Camden.

The completed renovations and design of the park included significant input from the Camden City community. From on-site meetings with youth sports programs, receiving feedback from neighboring schools, and several community outreach meetings, this collaboration has been instrumental in informing community needs and park design.

Before construction began, complex demolition and environmental remediation had to be carried out at the former Camden Labs site. Contractors removed and safely disposed of the contaminated soil and stabilized the site with topsoil in preparation for the park expansion. The environmental investigation, remediation and demolition of seven dilapidated buildings was made possible with $2.1 million in funding from the

NJ Department of Environmental Protection and $750,000 from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Through the partnership with the NJDEP and USEPA, the Camden Redevelopment Agency has completed the remediation of the former industrial site, paving the way for the expansion and renovations of Whitman Park to better serve the community.

“President Biden has placed environmental justice at the center of our agency’s mission and goals,” said Olivia Glenn, senior equity adviser and chief of staff for EPA Region 2. “Today, I couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate with you the transformation of this landscape from a community responsibility to an asset during this Whitman Park ribbon cutting. This achievement embodies the EPA’s commitment to advance environmental justice and achieve bold and meaningful results in communities that have long been overburdened and underserved.

In addition to the remediation, the NJDEP also supported construction of the park through New Jersey’s Green Acres program.

“Investments in natural, cultural and historic capital raise our standard of living and promote the sustainable growth and long-term economic vitality of our communities,” said Elizabeth Dragon, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Community Investment and Revitalization. economic. “Every New Jersey resident, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, color or national origin, deserves the opportunity to enjoy quality recreational facilities statewide and to ensure that generations future have the same.”

The project has also integrated local artists into the final pieces of the park. Local artists were funded to use their creative abilities to bring an artistic flair and add vibrant color to the public space. These artists designed and painted the existing park benches and tables that served the park in its previous state.

“My wife Liz and I have always appreciated the vital role that parks and outdoor recreation spaces have on communities by providing children and families with safe environments to play and thrive,” said Ron Jaworski, former quarterback -Philadelphia Eagles guard and founder of the Jaws Youth PlayBook. . “I am proud to be a partner of the City of Camden and to see our foundation supporting the completion of this massive new park with its vibrant play space, open space and sports fields to serve the young people of this community. and support the aspirations of our young athletes.