Camden's 'Connect the Lots' 2018 Season Begins

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CAMDEN, N.J. -

Camden's community engagement initiative is back for another season working toward revitalizing Camden with family-fun outdoor events.

“Camden is a beautiful city with beautiful residents and beautiful open spaces," said Cooper Ferry Partnership's Community event's manager, Vedra Chandler. "And the Connect the Lots program is just meant to connect our wonderful residents with our wonderful open space."

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Cooper Ferry Partnership and the City of Camden began the initiative back in 2013 in hopes of bringing their community together and familiarizing them with places around the city that they may not have even known about.

“What’s so special about this initiative is kind of seeing the residents of the City of Camden, myself being one of them, reclaim our public space and use it for what it’s meant for," said Chandler. "We should be out here barbecuing, grilling, showing movies, hanging out with the kids."

The 2018 season kicked off last month and community members have already said it's been a huge success. Chandler said more than 100 community members attended last week's movie night featuring the film Black Panther.

“For the residents, it provides great experiences that reflect how they feel about their city," said Rutgers-Camden graduated John Kunkle. "I think for folks who are coming to Camden, it changes the narrative and changes the perception of what’s happening in a really positive way."

The Connect the Lots initiative has something for all ages from large festivals to LunchBox Lunchtime concerts held every Tuesday in Roosevelt Park, featuring local artists like Namarah.

Some events are nature-based, health-centered or artistic, but all events are held in Camden's open spaces that may have gone unused over the years, like the former Riverfront State Prison. The prison was demolished back in 2009 and has since turned into the Cooper's Poynt Waterfront Park.

“Camden is home to dozens of open spaces and parks and I think over time some of them have fallen into a little bit of a space of disrepair and maybe been used for activities other than playing with your kids," said Chandler. "So, by doing some park renovations and just basic upgrades to playground equipment, we worked with some amazing contractors over the years to bring these spaces to life.”

“Roosevelt Park is now one of the best activated and most beautiful spots in the city. The image that Camden has in the region is evolving based on the good work that residents and community organizations are doing,” said Kunkle.

The 2018 season began with their annual Camden Night Gardens Festival and will close out in September with Camden Jam.

Check out Connect the Lots website, connectthelotscamden.com for the full list of weekly events.

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