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Cramer Hill


In spring 2011, CFP began the concept development for the Von Nieda Park—Phase II Baldwin’s Run “daylighting” Project. Daylighting is the process by which a river that was filled is re-established. In this case it is the re-establishment of the former Baldwin’s Run stream that historically ran through this location. In January 2012, CFP was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to fund the design of this innovative project. After a competitive Request for Proposals process in April 2012, CFP has engaged the firm of Remington & Vernick Engineers to complete the engineering and design of the project. The design of the Phase II daylighting is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year, allowing the construction of the project to advance in tandem with Phase I of the project.

CFP submitted the necessary permitting applications to NJDEP and the Army Corps of Engineers and is currently working on incorporating regulating agencies’ feedback into the plans. Current plans include considerations for endangered species, wetlands, development within a floodplain, sewer outfall discharge, and flooding. The project features the daylighting of the stream, wetlands restoration, and the construction of a multi-use trail connecting into Von Nieda Park. CFP just submitted applications to the NJDEP Environmental Infrastructure Trust for $1.5 million to support the daylighting of the Baldwin’s Run Tributary Stream, an application to Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for $260,000 for the construction of a multi-use trail, and an application to the NJDEP Wetlands Mitigation Council for $300,000 for restoration of area wetlands.


In September 2009, with support from the William Penn Foundation, CFDA and the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation (CHCDC) initiated a schematic design process for a 65-acre section of the Harrison Avenue Landfill, in partnership with the Camden Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Salvation Army, and other Cramer Hill stakeholders. The design for the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park at the Harrison Avenue Landfill builds up the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park Plan, a component of the 2009 Cramer Hill NOW! Neighborhood Plan. The park plan was created by Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) and Dresdner Robin, with extensive input from the community and NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). 

The former city landfill, which has a prominent location on the Cooper River and Delaware River backchannel, has been inactive since 1969, but was never capped or officially closed. With plans moving forward rapidly for the development of the $54 million Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on a portion of the site, remediation and reuse of the balance of the landfill has become a priority at neighborhood, city and state levels. 

The schematic landscape plan for the Park is based on the conditions detailed in the remedial investigation report for this site and was developed on a parallel track with the Remedial Action Work Plan developed under the direction of the NJDEP Office of Brownfield Reuse. The plan balances active and passive recreation, community gathering spaces and ecological restoration of the river edge habitat.

Cramer Hill is primed to take advantage of its scenic location along the backchannel of the Delaware and stunning views of Philadelphia and Petty's Island. With major investments underway, including the Kroc Center, infill housing and streetscape improvements, Cramer Hill has begun a transformation that capitalizes on its natural assets for significant economic and recreational development.


CFDA began work in Cramer Hill in 2001, when it was invited to join the Cramer Hill Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) to serve as a development advisor and technical resource on the revitalization of the neighborhood. CFDA’s first undertaking in Cramer Hill was securing a three-year grant in the amount of $750,000 from Fleet Bank’s Community Renaissance program and transforming the NAC into a 501(c)3 corporation (Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation). Since then, CFDA has raised an additional $7 million in project and operating funds to support a wide range of activities in Cramer Hill including brownfield investigations, neighborhood planning, streetscape enhancements, infrastructure upgrades, traffic calming, traffic and circulation improvements, commercial and housing development, and community organizing. CFDA has secured grants from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fleet/Bank of America, Wachovia Regional Foundation, and Camden Economic Recovery Board, as well as federal appropriations.


In 2001, CFDA was invited to join the Cramer Hill Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) to serve as a development advisor and technical resource on the revitalization of the neighborhood and its two miles of inaccessible, vacant and/or underutilized waterfront land along the back channel of the Delaware River. Working with the community, CFDA secured a three-year grant in the amount of $750,000 from Fleet Bank’s Community Renaissance program, to transform the NAC into a 501(c)3 corporation (Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation), to hire a staff, and to fund initial environmental and economic feasibility studies with the goal of identifying an initial set of projects which the CDC could undertake.


In 2007, the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation (CHCDC) secured funding from the Wachovia Regional Foundation and the NJ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program to complete a resident-driven plan for Cramer Hill. The purpose of the plan was to serve as a unified voice for local residents, business owners, institutions, students, community leaders, political representatives and others. The key goals of the plan were to: create a resident-driven blueprint for the community, create a social service network tailored to Cramer Hill, connect to the waterfront, revitalize River Avenue, improve local parks and schools, create a mixed-income community, and promote Cramer Hill as a cleaner and safer community for families.

As CHCDC prepared to begin this work, CFDA saw an opportunity to coordinate a waterfront park planning process on a parallel track with the neighborhood plan, replicating the model it had used in North Camden. With support from the William Penn Foundation, CFDA hired a consultant to develop a concept plan for a linear waterfront park that would extend along the length of the Cooper River and Delaware Back Channel in Cramer Hill. The objectives of the plan included maximizing waterfront access with the creation of a contiguous multi-use greenway trail with regional linkages, extension of key neighborhood streets to the river, programming of passive and active recreational facilities as well as identifying areas for waterfront development. CHCDC and CFDA worked closely to re-engage residents, generating a unified waterfront and core neighborhood plan which presents an exciting long-term vision for tomorrow and clear, implementable steps to achieve the vision.

Recognizing the host of environmental concerns that exist along the Cramer Hill waterfront, including a pair of nesting bald eagles, wetlands, and environmental contamination, and to insure that the Waterfront Park Plan was realistic and consistent with state and federal environmental regulations, CFDA and CHCDC worked closely with NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) during the planning process. CFDA initiated conversations with NJDEP at the outset of the process and secured commissioner level commitment to participating in the process in order to develop a plan for the waterfront that balances sensitive habitats with the need for environmental clean up, public waterfront access and new development.

After a seven-month participatory process involving 600 residents, the Waterfront Park Plan was publicly unveiled on May 11, 2009 as an element of the Cramer Hill NOW! Neighborhood Plan.  The Plan was well-received and considered to be reflective of the community’s priorities and needs. 

The waterfront park master plan represents a long-range community-driven vision for the revitalization of Cramer Hill’s waterfront. This vision is built on the primary community goal of a waterfront that is accessible to all residents and visitors alike while incorporating a range of new recreational opportunities and balancing mixed-use development with the preservation and enhancement of an incredibly unique Delaware River Back Channel environment. Currently, there is no public access to any part of the Cramer Hill waterfront. The stunning views across the still back channel waters, over the trees of Petty’s Island and the scenic Delaware River to the skyline of Philadelphia are hidden by landfill, industrial uses and fences. But this plan marks a growing realization of the untapped potential of the Cramer Hill waterfront.

Spark Creative Group