The Camden County Board of Commissioners has unveiled the “Parks Alive 2025” plan for the county’s 24 parks, trails, conservation areas and waterways, an effort that will be paid for with $100 million in funds distributed throughout the county.
A release from the board had details on the plan, including $51 million for construction costs, $5 million for planning and design, $25 million for the current water quality project at Newton Lake and $10 million for a link trail that will stretch from Camden City to the Atlantic County border in Winslow Township.
The board also made clear that the plan will entail no additional cost to county taxpayers.
“One hundred million dollars is an extraordinary amount of money …” said Commissioner Jeff Nash. “Our goal was to make sure that we had the resources to do this without causing taxpayers any more than they are already paying.
“The parks department receives an annual capital contribution for the budget which ranges between $2 and $3 million dollars,” he added. “We estimate that over the next few years, it will be around $2.5 million dollars, which will be the parks department’s share of the budget, so that there is $10 million.”
“We have already received federal funding for the trail and we have leftover funds from past years,” Nash explained. “We plan to recoup that money and [inject] it back into the plans moving forward. The remainder will be from bonds that the county will need to take in order to complete all of the projects.”
This plan highlights the strong commitment the county has made to “going greener” and building a more sustainable environment by prioritizing green spaces, parks, and outdoor venues for its residents.
The “Parks Alive 2025” plan included updates to the Link Trail, a 34-mile transportation trail starting at the Ben Franklin Bridge and ending at Cape May Point. The paved area will be used for walking, running, biking and motorized personal mobility devices.
“We are in the process of building this trail and it is a work in progress, based on some feedback from some of the towns …” Nash noted. The intent, whether it be directly or close by, is to have this part of the larger East Coast trail system, which connects to the Atlantic County trails, which takes you to Cape May.”