There has been solid progress in the effort to reverse Camden's negative reputation, according to state leaders, but the work is far from over.

Governor Chris Christie (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

While announcing a city and state partnership that targets "cradle-to-college" opportunities for Camden's youth, Gov. Chris Christie cited three main areas that officials must "confront and conquer" in order to claim victory over decades of crime and disrepair.

"Camden has to be a safer city, people have to know that their children can get a good education in the city of Camden, and there have to be more jobs available," said Christie. "It's not just one that will make the difference. You need to do all three."

Recently released crime statistics indicated a 9 percent overall drop in the first five months of 2014, compared to the same period last year. A county metro division took over the city's public safety in May of 2013.

Christie said the momentum needs to continue, by exploiting the "many advantages" of Camden.

Just last week, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved a hefty tax break deal that allows the Philadelphia 76ers organization to move its practice facility and business operations to the Camden waterfront.

Meanwhile, Camden residents can look forward to the opening of two grocery stores.   PriceRite is scheduled to open in 2014 and ShopRite in 2016.

State Sen. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), a Camden resident, said while most New Jerseyans don't consider a grocery store as a big deal, it's a different story in Camden.

"We've been a food desert, and that's going to change," Norcross said.