Sitting in debt and without a home team to serve for the past two years, Camden’s baseball stadium at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will now meet the wrecking ball.
Rutgers' board of governors voted unanimously on Thursday to move forward with a $15 million plan to demolish Campbell’s Stadium and replace it with three athletic fields for its university. It’s a partnership with the state of New Jersey, the City of Camden, and the Camden County Improvement Authority.
The decision comes just 16 years after the $20 million Campbell’s Stadium opened on Camden’s waterfront and was hailed as the start of a promising future for the city’s waterfront. But in the coming years the venue, home to the minor league baseball team the Riversharks, fell into debt. It didn’t help when the now-defunct team moved out two years ago, leaving the stadium without a major source of revenue.
In 2015, Camden stepped in and bought the stadium to save it from foreclosure.
Rutgers plans to put $7.5 million toward the new athletic fields, which will span the entirety of the property along the waterfront. Camden plans to apply for state funding to foot the rest of the bill.
There’s no set timeline when Campbell’s Stadium will officially be demolished. But when all is said and done, the athletic fields will be neighbors to the nearby $1 billion mixed-use development spearheaded by Liberty Property Trust, the Sixers’ training facility, and Subaru’s headquarters.