A new walking and biking trail, known as the LINK Trail, will connect 17 communities in Camden County, officials announced on Monday.
Spanning from the Camden Waterfront to the Pinelands National Reserve in Winslow Township, the expansive trail will cost more than $30 million to complete.
A $19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RASE, program funding will help complete a portion of the trail that will run through Camden and Pennsauken. That part of the trail is set to begin construction later this fall, officials said.
“From an economic standpoint, we want residents of the city to want to stay here,” said Justin Dennis, Camden program director for the Trust For Public Land. “That’s the goal of all of this work — to ensure that this place is supportive of their long term health and well being. It’s about parks, it’s about trails, and the sort of secondary benefits of those things; the mental health, the community cohesion, physical health, and just having a place that you can call your own.”
When it’s complete, the LINK Trail will join a national network of interconnected multiuse trails comprising 850 miles, called Circuit Trails.
Federal lawmakers like Rep. Donald Norcross (D-01) and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez helped secure federal funding for the project.
“The Camden County LINK Trail has been designed to connect people and places in South Jersey,” Norcross said. ”I was proud to support this funding in Congress … I will continue to fight for funding that will spur economic growth, create jobs, and improve health and well-being in South Jersey.
Brandi Johnson is the executive director of Camden Lutheran Housing, a community development non-profit. Johnson, who was raised in Camden and now lives in Pennsauken, said the LINK Trail is an investment in the quality of life of Camden residents. She said local organizations plan to raise awareness about the trail so residents fully reap the benefits.
“That is always a challenge — the last mile. All these other things have fallen into place, you’ve gotten the funding, you’ve gotten the program plan, and now you got to get the people into the program and help them take advantage of it,” Johnson said.