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By Fifth Legislative District | December 20th, 2012 - 5:27pm
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(TRENTON) – Legislation by Senator Donald Norcross and Assemblymen Angel Fuentes and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester) making possible the sale of the Riverfront State Prison site in Camden was passed by the Legislature today.

“The Riverfront Prison has been a dangerous blight on Camden’s waterfront for too long,” said Senator Norcross. “By demolishing the prison and selling its land, we can begin the process of replacing the site with development that will bring jobs and ratables to the city. This is the next step in transforming Camden’s waterfront into a destination for tourists, families and businesses.”

The sale of the land to the Economic Development Agency (EDA) for $1 allows the state to demolish the prison and seek developers to purchase the land for use. The EDA will be charged with overseeing the demolition, as well as finding a buyer to develop the land and administering the funds from the purchase. This was the course of action recommended by the State House Commission, a bicameral, bipartisan commission created to oversee state property.

“Having the EDA oversee this project is the natural choice,” Assemblyman Fuentes added. “The agency is the best equipped to not only ensure that the company chosen to develop the site will work in the interest of the city, it is also well-positioned to utilize the funds in the most effective way for our residents.”

Net proceeds from the sale will be retained and utilized by the EDA for projects within Camden City.

“The sale of the Riverfront State Prison site means new revenue for the state from what was until now little more than an eyesore,” Assemblyman Wilson said. “It will also provide new opportunities to develop and advance projects that are meaningful to Camden City at a time when resources are scarce.”

The bill, which was passed by the Assembly on Monday, and by the Senate today, now heads to the Governor’s desk.

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Alexis Degan
856-547-4800

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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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