State Senator, Mayor, Chief Operating Officer Tout Success of Municipal Rehabilitation Act
“Camden is a city with many challenges, and as a result of the Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act, those challenges are being faced head on,” said Camden’s Chief Operating Officer, Melvin “Randy” Primas. “I am pleased to report to the Senate Budget Committee today that the legislation is working. Today, we have unprecedented development activity in Camden, and improved facilities for our residents to receive educational training.”
The Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act, signed into law in 2002, was designed to bring economic revitalization to the City of Camden, which had been known as the poorest city in New Jersey up to that point. Under the legislation, a State-appointed Chief Operating Officer, working with municipal officials, would oversee a $175 million investment in State funds. To date, the $175 million investment has leveraged more than $1.79 billion in private investments, yielding a 10:1 return on the investment.
“This is a great day for the City of Camden,” said Mayor Gwendolyn A. Faison. “The results say it all. ‘Camden First’ has reflected the needs of a community that is inclusive of the residents, businesses and future growth. The partnership that has been established with COO Randy Primas has joined together a team that has a true interest in what’s best for the City of Camden. Our future will gain national interest.”
The government officials all acknowledged that Camden’s economic recovery would not be possible without public and private partnerships. Among Camden’s primary supporters are City healthcare and educational facilities, such as CAMCare Health Corporation, Cooper University Hospital, Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden, and developers, such as K. Hovnanian and Cherokee Camden.
“The Camden Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act has been a resounding success by any measure and has outperformed its expectations,” said Charles E. Sessa, Jr., Chairman of Cooper University Hospital and the spokesman for the Camden Higher Education and Healthcare Task Force. “Forty-seven-million dollars of State funding has stimulated $369 million in capital facility expansion among Camden’s medical and educational facilities. Camden is at a defining moment. It is a City that is making steady progress towards getting better, and the Camden Rehabilitation and Recovery Act has been crucial in effecting this turnaround.”
“K. Hovnanian is encouraged by the progress in Camden to date and we’re excited about the development opportunities with which we’re becoming involved in Camden,” said K. Hovnanian Division President Barry Edelman. “K. Hovnanian has been involved in redevelopment for over a decade in places like Newark, Jersey City and Atlantic City, and expects the redevelopment opportunities in Camden to be as successful as the others.”
Today’s hearing, as well as a report issued by COO Primas, fulfills the requirement under the Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act that require the Chief Operating Officer to issue a biennial report to the State Legislature.
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