Last week, the Riverfront North Partnership team ventured across the Delaware River to explore how the other half lives, over in New Jersey. Our partners, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership were kind enough to lead us on a multi-park tour of the Camden riverfront and gave us behind-the-scenes insight into ongoing projects and the successes and struggles they’ve had with each. We had the opportunity to explore: RCA Pier, Cooper’s Point, Pyne Point, Cramer Hill and Petty’s Island parks.
RCA Pier Park
RCA Pier boasts impressive skyline views and a connective network of trails tying users to the main tourist attractions and ferry connections. The first phase of the park was completed in 2019 and successfully programed throughout the summer with community concerts and movie nights. Local corporate investment in future maintenance is proving to be a good model.
Cooper’s Point Park, Pyne Point Park
These community parks, which hope to someday be connected by a multi-modal trail, are great amenities for neighborhood children with brand new playground equipment and ample green space for play. In Pyne park, the river is accessible and the nearby Mastery School just received a grant to explore further riverfront development.
Riverfront North Partnership staff took a “behind-the-scenes” tour of this former dump that is now in active construction to become a large 62-acre green space. We were able to see the well-established shoreline restoration work underway, as well as the partially constructed fishing pond and kayak channel. (See a drone video from earlier in the year of the site). We drew many similarities to our own Pennypack on the Delaware Park. Construction is set to complete next year, and we can’t wait to come back and visit the completed vision for the space.
On last stop of the tour, we visited Petty’s Island, formerly owned by CITGO and operated as an oil storage and shipping facility. A conservation easement for the island was granted to NJ Natural Lands Trust in 2017. The island is currently completing the process of decontamination under CITGO, and as soon as that is complete in the near future, more public access will be granted for passive recreation. The island’s rich historical past, panoramic views and it’s environmental habitat features, position it as one of the most unique spaces in existence along the Delaware River. Though public access is limited, there are numerous opportunities for the public to participate in programs that grant limited access to the island.
Overall, our trip across the river was eye-opening and refreshing. Though we are two states, we are one river and it is great to see both sides working tirelessly to transform formerly industrial shorelines into riverfront recreational spaces that benefit not only the environment, but the surrounding communities of our two great states.
*This trip we made possible by a grant from the William Penn Foundation