RECOVERY BOARD FOR CAMDEN
April 15, 2003
At the offices of
the Camden County Council of Economic Opportunity
MINUTES OF THE
Members of the Board
present: State Treasurer, John E. McCormac, Chairman; Chief Operating
Officer Randy Primas; Mayor Gwendolyn Faison; City Council President
Angel Fuentes; Marge Della Vecchia representing Commissioner Susan Bass
Levin and Louis Cappelli, Jr. representing Freeholder Director Jeffrey
Nash; and Dan Leonard representing Assemblyman Joseph Roberts, Legislative
Member; Public Members; William Hosey, Robert Milner, Reverend J.C.
Jones, Vice Chairman; Rosa Ramirez and Rodney Sadler.
Absent: Tonio Burgos
representing Anthony Coscia, Chairman of the NJ Economic Development
Also Present: Caren
S. Franzini, Executive Director of the EDA, Michael Heningburg, Asst.
Counsel, Governor's Authorities Unit; Anthony DeFelice, Deputy Attorney
Chairman John McCormac
called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m.
In accordance with
the Open Public Meetings Act, Ms. Franzini announced that notice of
this meeting has been sent to the Star Ledger, the Times,
the Courier Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer at least
48 hours prior to the meeting, and that a meeting notice has been duly
posted on the Secretary of State's bulletin board at the State House.
MINUTES OF BOARD
The first item of
business was the approval of the March 4, 2003 minutes of the Board.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Ms. DellaVecchia SECOND: Mr. Primas AYES: 10
A presentation was
made by Arnold Byrd of the Camden County Council of Economic Opportunity
on the community services that the Council offers to City and County
Bryant entered the meeting at this time.
Cliff Henry presented
the draft Strategic Revitalization Plan. George Kelly presented the
draft Capital Improvement and Infrastructure plan. Both gentleman highlighted
the twin goals of the plans to expand job opportunities in Camden for
Camden city residents and to link economic development to neighborhood
asked the Members if they had any comments about the presentations.
Randy Primas discussed
how the City proposes to use Community Development Block grant funds
and other city funds to assist transitional neighborhoods with redevelopment
Mayor Faison noted
that this would involve a partnership effort between the Mayor and Chief
Operating Officer's offices.
Senator Bryant noted
that the fiscal impact of the Municipal Recovery Act was much greater
than the $175 million authorized for bonds. The matching grants required
of the institutions for projects authorized by the bill results in $225
million for economic development projects. He also pointed out that
these tax exempt institutions would be responsible for payments in lieu
of taxes for the first time. In addition, the funds are anticipated
to leverage substantial private investment in the City. The Act also
directs state agencies to prioritize applications for funding from the
City which will result in concentrated public investment.
reported on the ongoing Department of Community Affairs demolition effort
and highlighted the partnership between local, state and federal agencies
on the Arlington Street project. She also reported on a recent DEP NJ
Tree Project event that Commissioner Levin had participated in resulting
in the planting of 28 trees in the city.
opened the meeting to the public for any comments.
expressed his concern that waterfront development job opportunities
were not trickling down to neighborhood residents and cited a need for
In response, Senator
Bryant reported on his ongoing discussions with union representatives
to increase apprenticeship opportunities on Camden projects. He noted
that a community wide session will be held on May 14th to inform residents
on how to access job opportunities provided by construction projects
in the city. American Community Partnerships will be conducting training
to meet all the requirements in order to become apprentices. Other measures
he is discussing with the School Construction Corporation is easing
bonding requirements for small firms and providing remedial/GED training
to occur this summer so residents could gear up for September start
to apprenticeship programs. Additionally, he is suggesting that the
School Construction Corporation and institutions unbundle contracts
so that small firms have more opportunity to bid on projects.
Bill Hosey noted
that he is the Governor's labor representative to the ERB. He spoke
last week at building trades council and American Community Partners
to discuss upcoming construction projects. All are gearing up for apprenticeships
in September but there are some important requirements like a GED and
the need for a vehicle.
Roy Jones related
that he had heard a presentation from the Greater Camden Partnership
on April 14th that $800 million was committed to downtown and waterfront
projects. In his opinion, large scale waterfront development projects
that have been built across America have not resulted in neighborhood
based economic growth. He feels a similar scaled commitment should be
made in Camden and challenged the Board to drive the vision for neighborhood
revitalization. He also felt that its important to create entrepreneurs,
recognizing those that don't have college degrees. He pointed out that
nothing ensures that the unions hire local people. Finally, he spoke
of the environmental problems related to contaminated sites scattered
throughout the City.
A woman associated
with the Parkside Neighborhood Business Organization suggested that
the Board look at leadership and management mentoring opportunities
for businesses and organizations working in the city.
Angel Cortero discussed
the need for improved educational opportunities from the Camden School
Stephen Dragos of
the Greater Camden Partnership noted that audience member Mr. Jones
had referred to the Vision Plan for downtown Camden that the Greater
Camden Partnership had presented at a meeting the night before. One
hundred people came to the presentation that unveiled a single vision
plan for the downtown that resulted from a planning session and process
that involved numerous people. He noted that the plan called for $400
million in private investment in the next 10 years. He offered copies
of the plan to whomever was interested.
Aguilard -Praised the plans and the work behind them and noted that
the letter she received from Treasurer McCormac giving her an update
of the planning process was extremely helpful. She hade made multiple
copies of it and distributed it to her neighborhood. She recalled the
work of the many Camden residents that had worked to get the Municipal
Recovery Act passed and their continuing interest in the work of the
A gentleman discussed
the environmental and health issues in the city and opined that all
projects and strategy must address these conditions. He believes that
there is a lack of information and educational outreach to citizens
to address concerns.
Kelly Francis of
the Camden Taxpayer Association discussed the City budget and was asked
by Chairman McCormac to restrict his comments to economic development
projects and other matters pertinent to the ERB only. Mr. Francis noted
that the plans should highlight the easy access the city has to rail
and the Philadelphia airport.
Valerie Devlin of
the Camden City Garden Club discussed the club's recent work and asked
if the aquarium and Camden Children's Garden were being addressed by
the Plan. Chairman McCormac referred her to a staff member for subsequent
noted that an additional presentation of the Plan was being held that
evening at the Tweeter Center at 7pm. Members Sadler and Hosey noted
that they would be in attendance.
There being no
further business, on a motion by Mr. Fuentes, and seconded by Mr. Primas,
the meeting was adjourned at 12:19 p.m.
The foregoing and attachments represent a true and complete summary
of the actions taken by the State Economic Recovery Board for the City
of Camden at its meeting. Caren S. Franzini, Executive Director, EDA
Asst. Secretary, ERB
S. Franzini, Executive Director, EDA
Asst. Secretary, ERB