By Andrew Kricun, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority
The Phoenix Park Project transformed a 5.3-acre Brownfield site into a new waterfront park that currently manages over 5 million gallons of stormwater annually. Phoenix Park was given its name as a symbol of rising success from a crumbled industrial facility. The park serves as an oasis for residents while also alleviating some of the neighborhood’s severe flooding issues by capturing stormwater and naturally filtering it back into the Delaware River. Completion of Phoenix Park has reconnected residents of the Waterfront South neighborhood with the Delaware River Waterfront.
This project was recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Council of the United States as one of the ten most innovative uses of Federal water infrastructure funding in the country. The park’s five acres of green space bridge a decades-old gap between a distressed urban residential neighborhood and the Delaware River, offering views of the skyline of Philadelphia from the heart of Camden’s industrial waterfront. On a parcel occupied only recently by a vacant industrial building on a contaminated brownfield site, the concerted effort of a set of committed partners leveraged funding from Federal, State, and County sources to create a sizable green infrastructure installation as a significant stormwater management measure, and an opportunity for residents of the Waterfront South neighborhood to experience a park setting on their waterfront, amidst the surrounding heavy industry. The emergence of Phoenix Park from the remnants of historic industrial Camden, through the creative cooperation of numerous stakeholders has been held out as a bright example of the potential for revitalization for Camden and other distressed urban areas.