Great things are happening at Northgate Park thanks to the leadership of NJPHK-Camden and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, the vision of Friends of Northgate Park, the commitment of the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties and the United Way of Camden County, and funding provided by Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey.
All of these organizations have come together to reclaim and rebuild this valuable community resource in North Camden.
“The work is happening in two phases,” explained Valeria Galarza, NJPHK-Camden project manager. “Phase one was building of the playground. Phase two will focus on improving the tennis and basketball courts as well as maintenance and safety, including tree trimming, better lighting, security cameras and fencing.”
Phase one got underway in October 2012 when 430 volunteers came to Northgate Park to build a KaBOOM! playground of brightly colored molded plastic swings and slides. KaBOOM! is a national not-for-profit organization that “envisions a playground within walking distance of every child in America.”
Park Director Brian Morton of the YMCA of Burlington & Camden Counties was recently hired to plan and oversee physical activity in the park. “Brian will coordinate physical activities that exist within the city and funnel them to the park so neighborhood children and youth remain active. Over the winter, activities will move indoors to a nearby community center. This way, children will continue to have active play throughout the season and make greater use of the park when the temperatures rise,” said Galarza.
This clearly is a community effort. NJPHK-Camden has been involved from day one acting as a catalyst. Coopers Ferry Partnership brings their expertise in project management and economic development; their experience working with the city has been critical in getting the needed resources. Friends of Northgate Park represent the community, providing the vision and feedback about what the park should be. The YMCA was instrumental in forging the partnership from Horizon that made the funding possible and United Way is a bridge bringing groups together.
Phase two will begin in the winter for a spring 2013 reopening.SHARE: