CAMDEN, NJ-It’s been 18 months since a civic center was first proposed for Camden County, and the final site could be determined by August 23. That’s the date of the next county freeholder meeting, and the civic center tops the agenda.

As much as the city of Camden would like to have the venue, it won’t be built there. The contenders are the cities of Pennsauken, Winslow and Lawnside, according to freeholder director Jeffrey Nash.

Pennsauken apparently has the inside track. It has a 70-acre site targeted as a redevelopment zone, and an alternate waterfront site, and is awaiting a $20 million redevelopment grant from the state. The big “if” is the latter – it has to be in the state budget by the beginning of the new fiscal year, which is July 1.

If the grant doesn’t make it into the budget, then it’s off for at least another year, and county freeholders are unlikely to wait that long. The funding would be used to buy the property, demolish existing structures and prep it for the civic center.

Pennsauken could still get the nod even without the grant, but without it the playing field would be leveled for Waterford, which itself has a large parcel slated for development, and Winslow, which has two undeveloped sites. The proposed 6,500-seat facility will be the home of a new minor league hockey team. It will also have an indoor track for high school and college use, and be a site for concerts and other events.

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