Nutter examines Street's NTI program

May 29, 2008 3:49:59 PM PDT
The Nutter administration plans to suspend Street's NTI program. In Mantua today, land was still being cleared as part of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative.

Mayor Street launched NTI 7 years ago. The goal of the anti-blight program was to knock down old useless buildings, clean up vacant lots and neighborhoods, and prep them for future development.

Mayor Street borrowed $300-million in bond money to make it happen and to a degree it has. The latest City Hall stats say 93,000 lots have been cleaned up, more than 6,100 buildings demolished, with some new housing has been built, but today there are questions from the new mayor.

"It is our intention at the moment for figure out what in the world is going on," Mayor Nutter said.

Mayor Nutter has ordered an audit of NTI, claiming as much as $30-million cannot be accounted for.

"We have a significant number of concerns about the NTI program, the allocation of how certain dollars must be spent versus what we found," Mayor Nutter said.

Former Mayor Street has been unavailable for comment.

Mayor Nutter says he is not prepared to say if the problem is poor oversight or outright corruption.

Despite the bureaucratic mess, Mantua looks a whole lot better from where lifetime resident like Josh Marion sits.

"This is a big improvement," Marion said.

What's left of the original NTI program will be frozen while the new mayor's audit goes forward. It was nearing the end of the line, anyway. Only $7-million remain in the account from that original $300-million in borrowed bond money.