(Cherry Hill, NJ) – The Board of Commissioners joined officials from the City of Camden, Rutgers-Camden, Congressman Donald Norcross, Rowan University Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors to officially open the new Camden Athletic Fields. The complex has been transformed into one of the most recognizable youth athletic facilities in South Jersey and will be the host to Rutgers-Camden athletics, Camden City youth sports and daily community use.
“This brand-new athletic complex will expand the availability of open playing fields not only to the Rutgers-Camden athletic teams but will meet the needs of our city and county residents as well,” said Commissioner Jeff Nash, who serves as the liaison to the Parks Department. “This project will be transformative to the waterfront and will be an asset for the children of Camden. The impact of this park will be felt for generations to come in the city and is now one of the premiere complexes in the region.”
Work included the demolition of the former Campbell’s Field and the construction of a turf baseball field and multipurpose field, an eight-lane track, pole vault and steeple chase, and a clubhouse complete with locker rooms, bathrooms and training rooms.
The facility also includes 26 new parking spaces with bike racks, new sports lighting and is equipped with enhanced stormwater management.
“This project signifies an investment in our neighborhoods and ultimately a tangible investment in the quality of life for everyone living in Camden,” said Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen “It is an outstanding accomplishment for the city to have a first-class athletic complex located right here on our waterfront. We are also fortunate to have this asset under the management of two community conscious partners in Rutgers University-Camden and the county commissioners. The Camden Athletic Complex is yet another commitment by my administration and our partners to support youth sports and foster an environment where we expand community health and wellness programming.”
Antonio D. Tillis, chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden, discussed the benefits the complex will bring to the school and the overall community.
“Rutgers is proud to be a partner in helping to launch this county-owned and -operated facility,” Tillis said. “These playing fields will provide a home base for our NCAA and club sports. This complex also will provide the families of Camden and Camden County with opportunities to exercise, play, and build healthy communities.”
Congressman Donald Norcross shared his excitement about the project.
“The redevelopment of Campbell’s field is bringing state of the art athletic facilities to Rutgers students and the families in Camden City,” Norcross said. “Giving the community access to open spaces, including playing fields, that used to be closed to them is a big deal and we are proud of the teamwork between local leaders, Rutgers, and community leaders to make this a reality.”
In addition to use by Rutgers-Camden and the public, the facility will also be the location for collaborative health sciences, research and education programs.
CEO of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors and former Mayor of Camden City, Dana Redd, talked about the importance of this new complex to residents
“The Camden Athletic Fields is another significant investment in our overall infrastructure, which not only expands access to open playing fields for residents in the city, but also provides a state-of-the-art facility for Rutgers-Camden athletic teams,” Redd said. “The extraordinary investment in these “third places” – where our community gathers – is providing positive change to the overall landscape for residents and giving our children equity in facilities with their counterparts outside the city.”
Falio Leyba-Martinez, who runs the East Camden Little League, said the new fields will be put to good use by the children of Camden.
“Being able to provide the youth of this city with a top of the line baseball field to play on, that will make a lasting impact on them as they grow up and develop as athletes,” Leyba-Martinez said. “These fields are a great investment for the children of Camden and I’m so excited to get out on the field with our players.”
The project was funded by the Commissioners, the Joint Board and Rutgers-Camden University and Rutgers-Camden. The $16 million investment will create a variety of athletic assets that did not exist prior to construction.