Landfill cleanup clears way
for Salvation Army community center in New Jersey
A municipal landfill that has been out of operation
and neglected for more than 35 years is being cleaned up by the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This set the stage for construction
of a multimillion-dollar Salvation Army community center that marks a significant
step forward in the city’s renewal, DEP commissioner Lisa P. Jackson
Working with the Camden Redevelopment Agency and the city, the DEP is using
its Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund and its Publicly Funded Remediation
Program to pay for the nearly $14 million investigation and remediation of
significant portions of the 85-acre landfill, located along the Delaware
River in the city’s Cramer Hill section.
The estate of philanthropist Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder
Ray Kroc, has provided the Camden Chapter of the Salvation Army with a $54
million grant to build and operate the 132,000 square foot community center,
which will house a family service center, an arts center, a recreation center,
and a child care center. At the heart of the facility will be a large, atrium-style
The center, to be named for Ray and Joan Kroc, will have a host of amenities,
including a gymnasium, library, health center, aquatics center, outdoor banquet
terrace, and outdoor sunbathing/water spray area. The building will be complemented
with outdoor athletic facilities that will include soccer and baseball fields,
tennis courts, basketball courts and concession stands.
The DEP ordered the city to stop using the landfill in 1971 due to lack of
environmental controls. Because of financial constraints, the city has never
been able to properly close the landfill.
The site contains primarily household refuse and construction debris, although
a DEP investigation found a pocket of chemical waste in the landfill’s
The redevelopment project encompasses approximately 23 acres at the northernmost
end of the landfill site. Remediation at this end of the landfill will include
removing all waste beneath what will be the community center’s footprint
and capping of an adjacent area that will become athletic fields and the
main parking area.
Remediation in the southern end, will involve removal of 14,000 cubic yards
of soil contaminated with chemical waste that is buried under the municipal
The DEP has built an access road and has begun clearing this area. This aspect
of the project, costing $4 million, is being paid for by DEP’s Publicly
Funded Remediation Program, which is funded by the Corporate Business Tax.
The DEP is providing nearly $10 million in grants from its Hazardous Discharge
Site Remediation Fund to the Camden Redevelopment Agency for overall landfill
investigations and remedial activities associated with Kroc Center development
The DEP will be developing a remediation plan for the remainder of the landfill
that does not fall within the community center project boundaries. The Kroc
Center development and future landfill remediation will allow for a mile-long
public greenway along the river and creation of a wooded buffer as habitat
for bald eagles in the area.