HUD Region II Regional Administrator Lynne Patton joined outgoing Camden Mayor Dana Redd to tour Promise Zone and Choice Neighborhood sites in the city. HUD Assistant Deputy Secretary for FPM Matthew Hunter; HUD Region III Regional Administrator Joseph DeFelice; HUD New Jersey Field Office Director Maria Maio-Messano; HUD New Jersey PZ and CN Liaison Barbara Anne Gardenhire-Mills; and New Jersey HUD Office directors joined the group, as did Camden Mayor-elect Frank Moran.
The Camden Prep Copewood Elementary School, one of three Uncommon Schools to launch in Camden was the first stop. Principal Natalie Cooper led the group through the facility's classrooms to meet the students and the teachers, who demonstrated their unique instruction style. This facility will include a middle school and a high school; and is poised to become a valuable resource for generations of students in the City.
In Mt. Ephraim, the Choice Neighborhood designation, the group toured Whitman Park, the nearby site of future Transit Oriented Development, and Branch Village, the central public housing development of the site. The building, the first HUD-subsidized structure to be redeveloped, was turned into 50 high-quality rental units, affordable to households earning less than 60 percent of the area's median income.
Also on the tour were HUD NJ FHEO Director Wanda Nieves; CPD Director Annemarie Uebbing; HUD NJ General Counsel James Lubin; HUD Region II Advisor to the Regional Administrator Barbara Gruson, HUD Region III Advisor to the Regional Administrator Elvis Solivan; Camden Housing Authority Executive Director Victor Figueroa, Camden Promise Zone Director Candice Jefferson; Meishka Mitchell, Vice President of Community Initiatives, Cooper's Ferry Partnership; and Merilee Rutolo, Chief Operating Officer, Center for Family Services.