CAMDEN, NJ— The Camden Redevelopment Agency [CRA] Wednesday withdrew a resolution that would have turned open space in the Lanning Square neighborhood into temporary parking lots for the BB&T Pavilion.
The Parking Authority of the City of Camden [PACC] was seeking to enter into a lease agreement with the CRA to install temporary surface parking for up to 250 cars from Stevens Street to Washington Street between 3rd and 4th streets from May 1 to Oct. 1, the length of concert season at BB&T Pavilion. The lots are owned by the CRA.
According to CRA Interim Executive Director Olivette Simpson, the CRA and the PACC decided the proposed sites were inappropriate after the proposal faced major opposition from neighbors.
“We made a commitment to take a look at it, to have a community meeting and the parking authority and the CRA came to the conclusion that it is simply not the place for temporary parking,” Simpson said on Wednesday night at the CRA’s regular meeting. “There was a lot of resident opposition, not just for that proposed site … but there was a great concern that there’s been an effort in Lanning Square to move negative activity out.”
At the CRA’s caucus meeting last Wednesday, neighbors expressed how the vacant lots proposed to be turned into parking spaces have become vital open space in the neighborhood, and how the neighborhood is tired of putting up for years with the noise and rowdiness that comes from traffic and pedestrian overflow during concerts at the BB&T Pavilion.
Despite the withdrawal, Lanning Square resident Susan Stukes said that she is still concerned the parking authority will seek to use vacant space on the west side of Lanning Square.
"I just feel they’re kicking the can down the road right now," Stukes said, adding the community will oppose any other parking proposals "because of the behavior of the concert goers."
"We’re just now cleaning up the area, and the behavior of the [concert goers] and the trash, and the trash, and the trash."
The PACC and the City of Camden have an agreement with the BB&T Pavilion to provide 7,200 parking spaces within 3,500 feet of the amphitheater’s front door. The Lanning Square neighborhood sits directly east of the BB&T Pavilion.
As development along the waterfront has eaten up much of the parking that used to help meet the parking authority’s obligation, it has started to look elsewhere to fulfill the agreement.
“Every year, the parking authority is constrained to meet the obligation,” Simpson said at the CRA’s caucus meeting last Wednesday.
The CRA also approved resolutions designating Union Packaging as the redeveloper for the former Reliable Tire site, and for a $3,800 contract to J. McHale & Associates to appraise the site, located at Chestnut and Orchard streets.