TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 13, 2017 — A potential “Home for Hockey” becomes a home for field hockey and a few other things

Five years ago, when the concept of a national field hockey stadium complex was broached, one of the first places that was proposed to USA Field Hockey was a plot of land near Rutgers-Camden, in one of the poorest cities in not only the state of New Jersey, but in all of the country.

This past week, it was announced that a multi-sport athletic complex was going to be built in Camden, on the site of Campbell’s Field, the former home of a minor-league baseball team. The facilities would include baseball and softball diamonds, a soccer-specific stadium, and a field hockey pitch.

It’s the latter which is, for me, the headline. Rutgers-Camden had not had much of an identity except for graduate programs such as its schools of law, nursing, and business. It’s also a place which has not become the kind of arts community like some of its Delaware River counterparts such as Lambertville, Bordentown, and Haddonfield.

But after so many years of crime and blight, homicide was reported to be down some 80 percent in the first three months of 2017, and police have been reporting arrests in the drug trade.

Sports has been touted as an economic development engine in many places, and there have been just as many wasteful white-elephant projects (see: Olympics) that are not being used to develop communities. But I think the Rutgers-Camden project is different, as it is tied to a university in a city where medicine and education have been seen as keys to future development.

This bears watching.

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