CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
CRAMER HILL LITTLE LEAGUE
Cramer Hill has a long and glorious baseball tradition. At least one home-grown player has gone from "the Hill" to the major leagues, and several others have played professional ball at various levels in the minor leagues. What has made Cramer Hill baseball so special over the past 100+ years is that even with the changes that have occurred within the city as a whole, community support for the game has never flagged. After a LONG struggle and several setbacks... promises made by city government were a long time in being made good on, ground was broken in November of 2008 for a new clubhouse.
Camden Courier-Post - November 18, 2008
Ground is broken on Cramer Hill Little League clubhouse
By LAVINIA DeCASTRO
The Cramer Hill Little League will finally have a place to display its trophies.
City officials, members of the community, parents, coaches and players gathered Tuesday at Von Neida Park on 29th and Tyler streets for a ground-breaking ceremony for the league's much-anticipated clubhouse.
"This is awesome," said 11-year-old Julian Perez.
"It's a great thing," added his cousin, 12-year-old Donovan Santana. "I can't believe it's finally happening."
The 1,525-square-foot building will include a storage area, a meeting room, a concession stand and bathrooms, said project engineer Anthony LaRosa of CMX Engineering.
"I have three sons who play Little League, so I understand the importance of a project like this," LaRosa said.
The building, which is expected to cost $425,000, should be completed in May, city officials said.
"This is really an historic moment, not only for our children here in Cramer Hill, but in all of East Camden," said Council President Angel Fuentes, one of the league's founders.
"This has been long overdue."
For more than a decade, city officials have promised to build a clubhouse for the 400-player league.
It took a trip to the White House -- a league T-ball team was selected to play against a Puerto Rican team on the South Lawn in June -- to turn a dream into reality.
City Council finally approved the project last month, thanks to a $25,000 county grant which covered the difference between what the city budgeted and the lowest construction bid.
"We will finally have a place to call home," League President William "Pete" Perez said.
Without a clubhouse, coaches and parents have to take turns caring for and storing the league's equipment.
"My dad kept all the trophies," said Julian, who has played since age 4.
"We have to worry about who has the equipment," added Donovan.
"If the coach doesn't come, we don't have the equipment and we have to forfeit the game."
League officials hope this is the first of many renovations needed at the fields, which lack lighting and need safety upgrades.
"It's definitely a monumental day," said Councilman Frank Moran, who played on those same fields as a boy. "This is just the beginning."
"Today we take the first step toward what I hope will be many steps toward our field of dreams," Perez said."
Camden Courier-Post - February 22, 2007
Cramer Hill Little League feels frustrated over facilities
By MATT KATZ
To community leaders, the Cramer Hill Little League represents what's right with Camden: A group of volunteers scraping together funds and equipment to keep 250 kids on the baseball diamond and off the streets.
But for these same leaders, the league also represents what's wrong with Camden: The short shrift and empty promises routinely given to the neighborhood of Cramer Hill.
"Truthfully, I'm tired," said Pete Perez, the president of the league who has asked officials for resources at countless meetings. "The biggest league in the city doesn't have nothing."
Perez is upset that the league is weeks away from another baseball season on fields without lights, bathrooms, concession stand or a place to store equipment.
But the city says that this time, it will deliver on its promises. By opening day in April, $15,000 will be spent on light poles at Von Neida Park. And by fall, there will be a building.
About $250,000 has been earmarked from the capital budget to construct a "unique" clubhouse with storage rooms, changing areas, bathrooms and a concession stand at the park at 29th and Tyler streets, said Ed Williams, deputy director of planning for the city.
A community block grant is secured to pay for the rest, he said. The total project will cost between $350,000 and $400,000, and an architectural firm has already been paid $19,000 to draw up plans.
"The Cramer Hill Little League has waited a long time for a building of their own," Williams said. "They've been really striving forward with their baseball program and have a lot of parental involvement. And they're at the point now that they deserve a building to call their own."
But after waiting 12 of the league's 16 years for a clubhouse, league volunteers are skeptical.
"I'm just tired of all the stories that they've been feeding us month after month, week after week," said Luis Neco, league vice president. "They sit there and tell us things like they have the money, they have the blueprints, they have people to work on the place. But nothing ever gets done."
Neco wants a clubhouse for registration, equipment storage, trophy display and hot dog sales. He wants a field that is up to standards set by the surrounding suburban communities, so tournament games can actually be played at home.
And he envisions proceeds from a future concession stand funding the league to make it free for all players.
"We're on the brink of being bankrupt every year," he said. "My dream is to have baseball actually be free."
February 22, 2007
Pete Perez, president of the Cramer Hill Little League, looks over one of the league's fields. He says the organization needs a clubhouse and better facilities.
interested in donating to the Cramer Hill Little League or sponsoring a
team can contact the league directly:
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