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New Community Center in Camden Creates New Opportunities For Residents

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New Jersey Reporter Cleve Bryan joined CBS 3/CW Philly’s Eyewit...
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By Cleve Bryan

CAMDEN, N.J., (CBS) — A whole new world of opportunity is taking shape in Camden’s Cramer Hill neighborhood.

Construction is in the final months for the Kroc Center, a $90 million super community center.

“It’s not just a hoop on a backboard in a park. It’s an NCAA-size gymnasium with all the amenities,” Major Paul Cain of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army gave us a tour of the 120-thousand square foot building which sits on a 24-acre campus that used to be a landfill.

Among the dozens of amenitities here will be two pools and a large central market.

There will be also spaces for job training, a health clinic and a food pantry.

The Salvation Army has raised about $9 million dollars from local investors, but the bulk of the project is funded through a gift by the late Joan Kroc, wife of former McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc.

The way the gift is distributed from Joan Kroc’s estate is that half the money is spent on construction and the other half on maintaining the facility, so that should keep the cost down for families. For a family of four, monthly membership is only about $20.

Cramer Hill native Jose Rodriguez says the neighborhood is curious and excited.

“For that right there to happen, that’s a big thing to happen, a good thing,” Rodriguez said.

This will be the country’s 26th Kroc Center. The vision is to be a beacon of hope and an agent of change, especially for children.

“And a lot of them have little or no hope, and we hope that this Kroc Center will give hope not only to them but to their families, a place where they can advance and find out what the possibilities are for their life and the future.”

Activities will begin in late summer.

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