AROUND NJ

Collaborative initiative features circus performances and workshops

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

Cooper’s Poynt Waterfront Park was once home to a state prison, but the property in Camden was transformed and Wednesday was being used to host a circus.

A performer for the Trenton Circus Squad, Kordell Garland, says that the program helps keeps kids out of trouble.

“Also it gives people something to do in their spare time, especially during the summer,” Garland said.

The circus was brought to the waterfront through a collaboration between Camden County and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership.

Cooper’s Ferry has an initiative called Connect the Lots, which programs parks and open spaces with free, family-friendly activities.

“The more we use our parks, the more we’re in our open space, the less likely they are to fall into the hands of people who would use them for things that are less desirable,” said Cooper’s Ferry Partnership community events manager Vedra Chandler.

Although the city has seen improvements in recent years, Camden still struggles with crime.

Diane Gager, a Collingswood resident, was at the show with children she looks after and says she was pleasantly surprised when she heard a circus would be coming to town.

“For something educational, and fun, and interesting to come to this area and open their doors to children I think is a fabulous, wonderful way to spend a morning,” she said.

Connect the Lots hosted a talent show last week at another park in East Camden. They also do movie nights, fitness classes and concerts among other things.

“We’re offering more than 100 ways for Camden residents and visitors to get outside and enjoy open space in Camden this summer,” said Vedra.