Demolitions begin to rid Camden of vacant eyesores

Friday, June 2, 2017
Demolitions begin to rid Camden of vacant eyesores
Demolitions begin to rid Camden of vacant eyesores. Nora Muchanic reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on June 2, 2017.

Camden is continuing its push to demolish vacant and abandoned buildings in the city.

Officials want to get rid of these eyesores to pave the way for redevelopment.

Heavy equipment is demolishing an old medical office on the 1200 block of Kaighn Avenue in Camden's Gateway neighborhood.

The city is using a $3 million state loan to clear away vacant and abandoned commercial properties.

"We are struggling and we are working hard to rebuild Camden and so this is a step forward to clear this site that will hopefully attract development to this particular site," Camden Mayor Dana Redd said.

"This building has been like this for several years now, and we are trying to bring some new businesses here to the city," City Councilman Brian Coleman said.

In the last year and a half, the city has knocked down about 600 vacant houses, what officials call the largest demolition project in state history.

Phase 3 of the program focuses on vacant commercial buildings. Police say all of these abandoned structures are magnets for crime.

"We are eliminating places for prostitutes to go. We are in limiting the places for them to stash their drugs," Camden Police Deputy Chief Joseph Wysocki said.

Rev. Willie Anderson, the Sword of the Spirit Christian Center Pastor said, "We had fires because they're in there doing the drugs. It just attracts the undesirables to your community."

Rev. Anderson built new affordable homes behind his church when a row of abandoned houses was knocked down several years ago. He hopes to put more in the lot where this building is being demolished.

"We put 10 homes up and put homeowners in these homes, the crime dropped by 80% within a year," Reverend Anderson said.

"This is going to give opportunity to build structures, new structures on this land," City Council President Frank Moran said.

"It does give more opportunity for development and that is a good thing," Naisa Taylor of Camden, New Jersey said.

Officials say these commercial demolitions are another important step in the ongoing effort to turn Camden around.


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