U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge on June 2 announced the awarding of a $35 million federal Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant to the City of Camden to revitalize its Cramer Hill neighborhood, upgrade public housing, and expand access to job and economic opportunities for residents.
The neighborhood plan incorporates redevelopment, rehabilitation and infill housing strategies as the basis for overall neighborhood transformation with a focus on creating new connections along key corridors that link residential areas with schools, open space, transit and retail amenities.
Menendez is the lead sponsor of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Act–legislation to make the initiative permanent and to ensure that it is adequately funded.
“This $35 million award we’re announcing today will help Camden realize its plan to replace distressed housing in the Cramer Hill neighborhood and ultimately improve the quality of life for the residents of Ablett Village,” said Menendez.
The City and Housing Authority put forward a plan that includes building 350 new, energy-efficient units, including 21 additional low-income apartments; improving pedestrian infrastructure and access to mass transit; providing recreational opportunities, including a new community center, playgrounds and walking trails; and creating a garden for locally-sourced produce.
“Since its creation, the Choice Neighborhoods initiative has transformed communities across the nation,” said Fudge. “Today’s announcement will support the local vision for reinvigorating communities and increase opportunity—whether it be with regard to housing, health, education, childcare, or jobs.”
“Today’s announcement highlights our collective commitment to ensuring residents of Camden not only have affordable, safe places to call home but have access to jobs, quality education and economic opportunities,” said Norcross. “Urban communities like Camden City have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and these vital funds will go a long way to ensure that Ablett Village can provide the services that residents need and transform this neighborhood for generations to come. I was glad to work with community leaders and residents to support this grant and congratulate the city on this major achievement.”
In 2016, Menendez, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Norcross announced a $13.2 million Implementation Grant to revitalize Camden’s Mt. Ephraim neighborhood after the project initially received a $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in 2012. Asbury Park, Newark and Jersey City have also previously received Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants.