Local group claims Camden’s revitalization is leaving people behind

Joanna Gagis, Correspondent | July 18, 2019

Rev. Levi Combs is leading a new coalition of community organizations in Camden, called Grassroots. Their message: the people of Camden are being left out of the revitalization of the city’s downtown.

The merits of tax incentives awarded by the Economic Development Authority’s Grow NJ program to corporations moving into Camden have been hotly debated in Trenton. Some claim incentives allow businesses to avoid paying property taxes for a decade, leaving Camden without much needed tax ratables. While others, like Camden County Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli argue that without the incentives, there would be no reason for companies to even consider Camden.

The coalition is asking for a seat at the table, saying that if they were part of the process, the changes could better meet the community’s needs.

One of the next steps for the Grassroots Coalition will be engaging corporations that have come in to see how they can develop programs that’ll better support the community.

Editor’s Note: In the video Rev. Levi Combs states that unemployment is rising in Camden. This is inaccurate. Unemployment has dropped from 18.6% in 2010 to 6.8% as of May of this year, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.