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Friday, August 28, 1998

Camden Pact

SALISBURY, MD--Loud parties. Crime. Poor housing. Declining neighborhoods. These are some of the problems associated with rental properties occupied by college students in university communities across the country--problems which often place a strain on town-gown relationships.

As the school year begins, however, four Salisbury groups are revealing plans to solve such problems. Today, The Camden Compact was unveiled at Salisbury State University. The Compact is an agreement between the University, City government, the Camden Neighborhood Association and the Salisbury Area Property Owners Association to focus efforts on improving the quality of life in the Camden area of the City. Its goals are to build strong neighborhood relations, boost civic pride and engagement, and develop collaborative mechanisms to solve neighborhood problems.

Salisbury Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman envisions the Compact as an urban model. I am excited this partnership has been created and look forward to seeing it expand to other city neighborhoods. The Compact provides a framework to improve communications, strengthen relationships at the neighborhood level and solve problems through cooperation.

The University has a strong interest in working to ensure our students have an adequate supply of safe, decent and affordable housing, said Barry King, assistant vice president of student affairs and an SSU representative working to develop the Compact. Because of its close proximity to the campus and its diversity, the Camden neighborhood is especially attractive to our students. An estimated 200-300 SSU students rent in the Camden area during the school year.

Under the Compact each of the groups has agreed to specific steps it will take to improve neighborhood conditions, including addressing such problems as poor housing, neighborhood crime and disruptive parties. Representatives of this coalition, who began meeting this summer, will continue to meet monthly to monitor progress and solve problems.

Copies of the Camden Compact are available through the Mayors Office and SSU Information Desk at the Guerrieri University Center.


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