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Parks Alive 2025: $100M Plan to Revitalize Camden County’s 24 Parks, Conservation Areas & Waterways

Parks Alive 2025 initiative is a $56 million investment, with more than $51 million dedicated to construction costs and $5 million for planning and design.

On April 28, 2022, the Camden County Board of Commissioners joined nonprofits, advocates for public lands, and mayors from throughout the county to unveil a $100 million plan to revitalize the county’s 24 parks, conservation areas, and waterways.

“Parks Alive 2025 is the largest investment into the county’s public parks system since the Roosevelt Administration and the Works Progress Administration,” said Commissioner Jeff Nash, who also serves as the liaison to the Environmental Commission of Camden County. “These projects will address a variety of concerns from water quality to improving accessibility and more. In addition, the Commissioners are enhancing playgrounds, green spaces, and trails throughout Camden County. By the time these projects are complete, our county’s parks will be a place for everyone, from every walk of life to enjoy.”

Altogether, Parks Alive 2025 initiative is a $56 million investment, with more than $51 million dedicated to construction costs and $5 million for planning and design.

The remainder of the investment is rooted in the $25 million water quality project at Newton Lake Park currently being completed, a $3 million investment for an 80-acre open space parcel in Winslow, and a $10 million link trail that stretches from Camden City to the Atlantic County border in Winslow Township.

In addition, $6 million has been set aside for park maintenance and purchasing.  

“Investing in open, green space for our communities is incredibly valuable, and the Parks Alive 2025 Initiative is an investment that is historic in size and scope,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “Green spaces offer opportunities for people to connect, relax, and engage in recreational activities that promote health. The project is also sound from an environmental and economic perspective. I am excited to see the Initiative come to life and I look forward to the many benefits these parks will bring to our communities.”

Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen detailed how the investment will particularly benefit the city community.

“Parks are located throughout the Camden community and play a huge role in the overall quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Carstarphen said. “These beautiful open spaces act as catalysts for development, hubs for recreation, and centers for events. We commend Camden County and all the partners for launching the Parks Alive 2025 initiative and for committing to creating vibrant spaces for residents, stakeholders and visitors.”

All money and resources for this array of projects will be paid for through existing funding and no new levies will be created to finance these enhancements.

The current funding mechanisms consist of the county open space funds, federal and state grants, funding from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, private donors, New Jersey Infrastructure Bank and previous capital bonds from the Camden County Parks.

“We applaud this plan and are particularly thrilled to see two new water access sites, opening up miles of waterways to some of the county’s most precious open space,” said Don Baugh, president of the Upstream Alliance.

Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Shin Angulo discussed her excitement about the projects coming to the area and its surrounding communities.

“I want to commend our incredible Camden Commissioners for coordinating this momentous investment in Cherry Hill. I know residents and visitors will enjoy the full county park system for many decades to come,” Angulo said. “I am especially excited to see the enhancements coming to Evan’s Pond, Challenge Grove Park, the Cooper River, and Maria Barnaby Greenwald park. The County’s dedication to our local assets in recent years has made an indelible impact on Cherry Hill Township. This pivotal move by our Commissioners will play an important role in shaping our shared future as a community united around our green spaces, waterways and vital natural resources.” 

Pennsauken Mayor Jessica Rafeh said parks have been even more crucial to her community since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the important things that COVID-19 taught us is how important it is to get outside. Our parks give us fresh, clean oxygen that we need,” Rafeh said. “When we’re outdoors, we get off our phones and our screens, connect with others, and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. This project at Cooper River Park offers all that and much more. Pennsauken Township Committee and our administration are so very proud to support the Board of Commissioners in their efforts to make this the best park system in the state.”

Projects have been broken down into four categories; infrastructure, trails/paving, waterways and recreation.

All 24 parks will benefit from this revitalization and residents can find future improvements to a county park near them by going to to review the entire plan. 

Sean Mohen, executive director of Tri-County Sustainability talked about the local and global impact of the plan to our collective community.

“It is widely understood that urban green spaces have a natural ability to filter pollution from the air and reduce local air and ground temperature,” Mohen said. “On average, the daytime air temperature of parks is an estimated 2 degrees cooler than built-up, non-green urban areas. That’s why Parks Alive 2025 is a crucial component of our South Jersey Regional Air Quality improvement efforts.”

Commissioner Nash discussed the added financial benefits of Parks Alive 2025.

“Not only are these projects beneficial for the residents and visitors who access our parks, but we know that the health and welfare of our overall community is dependent on preserved and maintained green spaces and clean waterways,” Nash continued. “That’s why our partners from the Trust for Public Lands, Upstream Alliance and Tri-County Sustainability are here with us advocating for this generational investment in our 5,200 acres of parkland and open space.”