Rutgers Board of Governors Approves Support for Redevelopment of Campbell’s Field

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will invest up to $7.5 million in the redevelopment of Campbell’s Field in Camden.  The Rutgers Board of Governors approved the resolution during a regularly scheduled public meeting in Camden today.

The proposed project envisions the creation of a multi-purpose athletic facility that could include fields for baseball, lacrosse, and field hockey to be utilized by Rutgers University–Camden’s NCAA Division III and club teams as well as by the larger Camden community.

The complex would be built on the site of Campbell’s Field, which currently is owned by the Camden County Improvement Authority (CCIA). The Rutgers Board of Governors resolution represents Rutgers’ contribution toward the overall project.

Upon completion of construction, the complex would be owned by the City of Camden.  Rutgers would enter into a usage agreement with the city to ensure that Camden youth and families, as well as Rutgers students, enjoy open access to the playing fields.

Currently, the Rutgers University–Camden men’s baseball team plays its homes games and conducts its practices at Campbell’s Field, which it has done since the professional baseball stadium opened.  Rutgers manages the Rutgers–Camden Community Park, a city-owned facility featuring softball and soccer fields utilized by Camden community groups as well as by Rutgers–Camden’s softball and women’s and men’s soccer teams.

“I thank the Rutgers Board of Governors for its commitment to Rutgers–Camden’s growth,” says Phoebe Haddon, chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden.  “These playing fields are important to Rutgers students as well as to the health of Camden’s families.  We look forward to advancing this project, as well as other key projects –  such as a new Business School Building and a revitalized Rutgers presence on Cooper Street – that will serve our students and contribute to the ongoing Camden Rising movement that’s energizing our city.”

“The new landmark facility will be the home for Rutgers athletics and city youth sports becoming a haven for children to thrive on the waterfront,” says Camden County Freeholder-Director Louis Cappelli Jr.  “Since the CCIA took ownership and control of the property, we have consistently talked about ensuring that whatever use continues at the site will be one that directly benefits the city. In short, this redevelopment plan will provide Rutgers with the ability to grow their campus and for Camden’s children to have a world-class facility to play in throughout the year.”

Continues Cappelli, “That said, and despite our best efforts, we were stymied from bringing a Major League Baseball-affiliated organization to the city based on MLB rules and regulations. Our original objective was to bring baseball back to the city, but seeing all doors close in front of us, it was important to reengineer the mission. Furthermore, we view this to be the single best option for residents, who will now have access to a college-level athletic facility to serve their community.”

“Although it will be disappointing to see Campbell’s Field gone, change is sweeping through the city,” says Camden Mayor Dana Redd.  “This is an opportunity for Camden to reimagine the site in a positive way that will benefit the community.  I am confident the proposed development will result in a superb waterfront amenity which our Camden youth and residents can enjoy for decades to come.  The City of Camden, Camden County, and Rutgers University have a long history of working together to facilitate similar projects of this scope and scale.  Rutgers University is an ideal partner for this type of venture, as they continue to grow the Camden campus.  Rutgers University has not only been a socially conscious neighbor, but also has done a great job of engaging Camden stakeholders.  The proposed athletic fields will further connect our residents to the Camden Waterfront and Rutgers University, while providing a state of the art collegiate-level facility.  I cannot think of a better scenario.”

 

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