It’s no secret that Camden, the City Invincible, has faced its fair share of challenges in recent history. Once a booming industrial center of the early 20th century, the city eventually faltered and saw its prosperity crumble, giving way to crime, poverty and poor quality of life for many residents.
However, over the last decade, regional government and business leaders have joined forces to restore Camden’s reputation as an urban business hub. At the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey’s (CCSNJ) Committed to Camden event, held Jan. 22, those driving the economic resurgence of the city—including Congressman Donald L. Norcross and Mayor Dana L. Redd—addressed more than 300 attendees with their accomplishments to date and plans for the future in the City of Camden.
“Every administration [in recent history] has tried to redevelop Camden, but this is the one where it’s really sticking,” said Timothy J. Lizura, president & chief operating officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), of Mayor Redd’s administration. “We are making Camden a different place, but the people in this room are making Camden a better place.”
Congressman Norcross and Mayor Redd took the podium first, outlining the areas in which Camden has made and continues to make progress—public safety, education and economic development—because, according to Norcross, “a healthy Camden means a healthy South Jersey.” With these crucial pillars in place, Camden may once again become a “shining urban anchor in the state of New Jersey,” said Mayor Redd, noting that her administration hopes to brand Camden as a place to “live, work and invest.”
|The event’s power-packed panels consisted of executives from multiple industries, including real estate development, health care, public utilities and more. Each panelist discussed his or her company’s plans for the city in the near future as well as the reason behind each company’s commitment to Camden. PSEG, American Water, Liberty Property Trust, The Cooper Foundation, Brandywine Realty Trust, Holtec International, Rutgers University – Camden and Virtua were all represented on the panel.
“We want the streets to be alive,” said William P. Hankowsky, president & chief executive officer of Liberty Property Trust. “This is a city that ‘gets it.’”
“If we think big and be bold, we can collectively accomplish great things for Camden,” said George D. Sowa, executive vice president & senior managing director – New Jersey/Delaware of Brandywine Realty Trust and vice chairman of the CCSNJ Board of Directors.
As Mayor Redd had stated, Camden is a place to live, work and invest: however, this transformation can only be accomplished through the power of collaboration. Congressman Norcross, Mayor Redd and the leaders of the South Jersey business community featured at Committed to Camden have proven the efficacy of this notion—together, we can create a better Camden.
For more information on these companies' plans for Camden, see the panelists' PowerPoint presentations below.