...Improving and caring for the community of Waterfront South, Camden, New Jersey
ABOUT WATERFRONT SOUTH
Waterfront South is a mixed residential/industrial community in the southwestern corner of Camden City, New Jersey. It contains a large portion of Camden’s waterfront along the Delaware River across to the east of Philadelphia.
Location of Waterfront South neighborhood in the City of Camden, NJ, mainly census tract 6018.
The Waterfront South neighborhood epitomizes a typical post-war industrial city. Its residential core area became distressed and deteriorated after a significant population decline from the closing of its largest employer, the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, in the late 1960's. Today, some 40 years later, it is a neighborhood with great potential primed for revitalization.
Rich in History
Waterfront South initially became a neighborhood in 1851 as a suburb called Stockton. A few frame houses from this era still stand in the neighborhood. The Kaighns Point Land Company promoted the area as a suburban refuge on the southern end of Camden and north of Gloucester City.
In 1871, the area became part of the City of Camden. At that time, it was called the Eighth Ward. The majority of residences in the district were constructed between 1875 and 1900 when rapid development of the area occurred in the decades that followed its annexation. The rapid development was associated with the nationwide industrial revolution with its largest employer, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, employing 35,000 people at is peak. New York Shipbuilding Corporation closed in 1967. Consequently, the area went into a downward spiral of vacant housing, increased crime, and inferior infrastructure over the decades that followed.
The area between Jackson and Chelton, I676 an d S. 4th Street was designated a Federal and State Historic District in 1990. Two significant contributing structures exist in the South Camden Historic District – Sacred Heart Church on the point at Jasper, Ferry, and Broadway and Church of Our Savior at Broadway and Viola Streets.
The neighborhood of Waterfront South is located in southeast corner of Camden City, New Jersey. The area, which holds a strategic location across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, is bounded by Atlantic Avenue on the North, Newton Creek on the South, Route 676 on the West and the Delaware River on the East.
Waterfront South, census tract 6018, is home to approximately 1,700 residents. This represents a 20% decrease from the total population in 1990 . The population is predominantly African-American (61.2%) and Hispanic (27.2%), but inclusive of a diversity of other races and ethnicities including Caucasian (15.1%), Asian (6.3%), and others (17.4%).
Almost one-third (32.7%) of Waterfront South residents live below the poverty level. This is nearly four times greater than the State average. The neighborhood median income is $22,417 which is less than half the statewide average of $55,146.
Children watch the
dedication of Butterfly Park.
The neighborhood of Waterfront South faces many challenges. There is the above noted poverty and lack of education as well as a large drug trade and the accompanying violence and illicit activities.
In addition to the socio-economic inequalities faced by residents of Waterfront South, there are also disproportionate environmental harms and risks that they face. The one-square mile of Waterfront South is home to the County's sewage treatment plant and trash-to-steam incinerator, the world's largest licorice processing facility, a cement product manufacturing facility, numerous scrap metal recycling facilities, diesel truck traffic, 2 US Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites, and 28 NJ Department of Environmental Protection Known Contaminated Sites.
In spite of its challenges, the neighborhood of Waterfront South has many strengths. One such strength is the community-based non-profit organizations such as Camden Rescue Mission, Camden Shipbuilding and Maritime Museum, Center for Environmental Transformation, Clothes from the Heart, Fellowship House, Heart of Camden, Jersey Counseling, Joe’s Place, South Camden Theater Company, Urban Promise, and Youth on the Move. These organizations provide vital services to the community including housing rehabilitation, job training, youth programs, health and nutritional assistance, advocacy, addiction support, and the arts.
Waterfront South is a budding arts district. It is home to the South Camden Theatre Company and Waterfront South Theatre, Brother Mickey’s Arts Studio, Artaware, and Fireworks. The area has many strong churches, most especially our founder, and community center, Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart also runs the well-regarded K-8 Sacred Heart School.
Waterfront South is a gardening community with Eve's Community Greenhouse and Gardens, Camden Children’s Garden, and Fellowship House all gardening in the area.
While access to the water is limited, the Michael J. Doyle Park and Fishing Pier is a hidden treasure in our neighborhood.
The greatest strength of Waterfront South is found in its residents. Waterfront South is home to a diverse community, and includes long-time residents of the neighborhood as well as families who have recently moved into Waterfront South, including a diverse immigrant population. This mix provides a cultural and historical strength that is unique to the neighborhood. Waterfront South consists of hard working families that hope to achieve the American dreams of stability and economic success.
Heart of Camden 1840 Broadway, Camden, NJ 08104. Telephone: 856-966-1212