Room with a View
September 27th, 2009 by Jay Corbalis
The Courier Post reported on July 17 that the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) will pay to raze Waterfront State Prison, which sits in North Camden overlooking the Philadelphia Skyline. According to the article demolition of the prison, which is 26 years old, could begin this fall, at an estimated cost of $6 million, which will be paid for by the DRPA.
Demolition of the prison is an integral part of the “North Camden Neighborhood Plan,” an ambitious redevelopment effort jointly developed by the Cooper’s Ferry Development Association and the Save our Waterfront Coalition to revitalize one Camden’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. The plan, which received a 2009 New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award, outlines the direction for the North Camden community over the next decade, addressing housing, economic development, human capital development, public safety, circulation and infrastructure, and parks and ope
n space. It also fits together with a comprehensive plan for revitalizing Camden’s waterfront, and incorporating a linear waterfront park into that plan.
The citation honoring the North Camden Neighborhood Plan with a Smart Growth Award noted the vital importance of razing the prison:
“[T]he community is poised for change. More than $600 million in private investment is proposed for downtown Camden over the next eight years, and the single greatest obstacle to redeveloping the city’s waterfront will soon be removed. Gov. Corzine’s announcement in June 2007 that Riverfront State Prison would close within five years invited a new way of thinking about not only the waterfront’s potential, but also forging connections with the surrounding neighborhood.”