COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS FIGHT TO SAVE THE CAMDEN CHILDREN’S GARDEN
Tracy Nyszczot, Public Relations ~ Cell: 215-219-4803, Email: publicrelations@CamdenChildrensGarden.org
Mike Devlin, Executive Director ~ Cell: 609-707-7677, Email: mdevlin@CamdenChildrensGarden.org
UPDATE: NJ Officials Suspend Planned Eviction of Camden Children’s Garden
The Camden Children’s Garden did receive a notification of small reprieve – an extension of sorts by the State that they will not evict on Easter Day. However, NJ officials want to continue talks to have more of an idea of our programming. So there is some hope, but we are still fighting for our lives. We just have some more time to do it.
NEWS COVERAGE ABOUT THE STATE’S EVICTION DELAY:
- NJ.com/South Jersey Times – Camden Children’s Garden eviction delayed as talks with state
- Philadelphia Inquirer – N.J. officials suspend planned eviction of Camden Children’s Garden
- Courier Post – Camden Children’s Garden eviction on hold
Congressman Rob Andrews commented, “An important first step for the Children’s Garden— no eviction will happen March 31. The negotiations will continue, and we will continue to stand by the community so that the Garden flourishes and has a permanent place on the Camden waterfront. Mike, Valerie, Gladis, the Reverend and the whole community are doing a great job. Pleased to work with Senator Norcross, Assemblyman Wilson, Assemblyman Fuentes, Mayor Redd and Council on this effort. We are not done yet, and will keep focused.”
The Department of Treasury said it had “suspended” the Sunday to vacate most of the premises. “We feel we need more time to review the material the Children’s Garden gave us,” Treasury spokesman Bill Quinn said Wednesday to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter.
BACKGROUND: STATE OF NJ THREATENS TO EVICT THE CAMDEN CHILDREN’S GARDEN IN JANUARY 2013.
Camden City Garden Club (CCGC) received a letter in January 2013, from the State of New Jersey stating that they had made a decision to reduce about 90% of the footprint of the 4.5 acres of the Camden Children’s Garden (CCG) by March 31st, 2013. The State’s Division of Property Management & Construction suggested the decision was made “to enhance the economic development potential of the property”. The State explained that they planned to handover the land to the Adventure Aquarium operator, the Herschend Family Entertainment, headquartered in Georgia. CCGC is currently contesting alleged ownership of the land.
Since the announcement, the “Save the Camden Children’s Garden” Movement was established as a grassroots initiative by community supporters. In only a few weeks, this Movement has spurred media interest with more than 100 News Placements, thousands of supporters have come out for the Children’s Garden, with a Petition with more than 3500 signatures, a Facebook Group with over 6600 members and amazing testimonials from Garden Youth, Staff, Community Members, Elected Officials, and Educators impacted by the Camden Children’s Garden. The Movement has spurred media interest, to fight the destruction of an institution being called “Camden’s Safe Haven,” “a Homegrown Camden Gem”, “Way to Fight Camden Crime,” “The Organization that Helps to Grow an Estimated $2.3 Million in Fresh Produce Each Year,” “Part of the Fabric of the Camden.” In addition, the CCG is a model of the national trend of Children’s Gardens, “Always been the one that others (gardens in Greater Philadelphia region and in nation) looked to,” said Paul Redman, Director of Longwood Gardens.
FEBRUARY 12th PRESS CONFERENCE/RALLY GATHERS ELECTED OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO SAVE THE CAMDEN CHILDREN’S GARDEN
On February 12th, 2013, over two hundred people rallied to show their support, including elected officials, community leaders and children. All stood inside of the Camden Children’s Garden holding signs and demanding that the state rescind the eviction notice. All of these people and so many more have been touched by the Camden Children’s Garden Programs. The event commenced as MIKE DEVLIN ADDRESSED THE CROWD WITH THIS SPEECH AT PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY.
Elected Officials rallied, proclaiming their support to Save the Camden Children’s Garden, including State Sen. Donald Norcross, State Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, State Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, Mayor Dana Redd, Camden City Council President Frank Moran and the other six members of Camden City Council. In addition, Congressman Andrews sent a formal statement, which was read by Mayor Redd as he was in attendance of the State of Union in Washington, DC. Each political leader approached the podium to make a speech about the importance of the Camden Children’s Garden to the community, the good the CCG does for the children of Camden and announced their support that this homegrown Camden organization should stay put.
State Sen. Donald Norcross spoke at the rally and is acting to mediate the dispute with State Officials. Sen. Norcross said in a media interview that with the two sides meeting, the state no longer was insisting on its eviction deadline. “The Camden Children’s Garden is where it belongs — right here in Camden,” Sen. Norcross said to the crowd, “Starting Tuesday, February 19th, Mike, myself are going to be meeting with the state of New Jersey to work out our issue. We will not be working on an eviction – we will be working to make sure this is a win.”
THE CAMDEN CHILDREN’S GARDEN NOURISHES THE BODIES AND MINDS OF CAMDEN FAMILIES AND VISITORS ALIKE:
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION – for the people, by the people!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
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Request these contacts to reconsidered this decision and the importance of this organization’s programming