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NEWS
May 26, 2002
How do you define blight? Tell us of a place in Philadelphia or the surrounding Pennsylvania or New Jersey suburbs where you've seen blight. What needs to be done about it? Send essays of about 150 words by June 3, including a phone number for verification, to Voices/Blight, The Inquirer, Box 41705, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101. Send e-mail to inquirer.letters@phillynews.com or faxes to 215-854-4483. Questions? Call Kevin Ferris, readers' editor, at 215-854-4543.
NEWS
October 7, 2003 | MARK ALAN HUGHES
THE MOST important issue in the mayor's race might be the blight of Philadelphia's enormous inventory of derelict property. This blight has many causes and many effects. Policies that make suburbs more attractive than cities as places to live and work (like wage taxes, mortgage interest deductions and exclusionary zoning), technologies that make those places possible (like cars, cell phones and Wal-Marts), and the preferences that many Americans share and that many others have been taught to value (like the desire to grow grass, avoid black folks and raise children in isolation from influences outside the home)
NEWS
February 26, 2003
PREDATORY lenders take advantage of low-income homeowners by offering easy loans for home repair - but at high interest and with hidden costs. A relatively new, but little heralded program supported by city Neighborhood Transformation Initiative money could help change that. About $2 million in NTI money was pumped into the Philadelphia Home Improvement Loan program to buy down interest rates at banks participating in the program. PHIL loans offer up to $25,000 in loans to combat blight and promote home repairs at dirt-cheap interest rates.
NEWS
March 3, 1987
Name one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington. Hint: It despoils the landscape. (It's not the mining lobby.) It managed to turn a federal program to control its excesses into a multi-million-dollar subsidy. (It has nothing to do with military hardware.) It's the outdoor advertising industry - the folks who have dotted America's landscape with thousands of unsightly billboards. The 1965 Highway Beautification Act, designed to limit billboard blight by compensating owners for billboard removal, is a failure.
NEWS
June 17, 2004 | BY ELMER SMITH
THE PEOPLE who laid out Francisville two centuries ago didn't care much for the city's plan. So they angled their little village away from Philadelphia's 100-year-old grid and cut their streets to run parallel with and perpendicular to Ridge Avenue. If you turn your head sideways, it's easy to spot it in the middle of the city's checkerboard grid. But you have to take a walk to really see Francisville's off-kilter layout. Narrow, tree-lined streets like Shirley, Vineyard, Francis, and Edwin that don't exist anywhere else in town are contained by the neighborhood's main borders: Corinthian Street and Ridge, Girard and Fairmount avenues.
NEWS
July 21, 2010 | By NATALIE POMPILIO, pompiln@phillynews.com 215-854-2595
BISHOP Kermit L. Newkirk is frustrated. From his perch at Harold O. Davis Memorial Baptist Church, in Logan, on the edge of the infamous "Logan Triangle," his view features more than 35 acres of empty lots edged with overgrown weeds, concrete barriers and piles of garbage, chip bags, soda bottles, old tires and sofas. And he's had roughly the same scenery for more than two decades. "This may be the largest blighted area in the city of Philadelphia, and, after 25 years, we're still looking at it," Newkirk said.
NEWS
June 7, 1994 | Inquirer photographs by Gerald S. Williams
The mission was no secret; in fact, parts of the target area already looked like a war zone. Census Tract 175, home of some of the worst urban blight in the city, was besieged yesterday by uniformed workers in the first stage of a massive cleanup effort.
NEWS
August 14, 2001
Mayor Street's proposal and Mark Alan Hughes' plan share the same laudable goal of eliminating blight conditions. There is even agreement about the need to streamline and reorganize housing and real-estate functions, and set up a land bank. But demolitions and lot-cleaning are just the back end of the problem of private disinvestment and population loss. If we approach existing building stock as an asset, not a liability, we attract new homeowners and entrepreneurs. Population loss is not a certainty - population is growing in some cities.
NEWS
January 21, 2001 | By Rev. D. David Royster
Mayor Street, act now. Stop talking about blight and take real steps to end it. I am a leader of Philadelphia Interfaith Action. My fellow PIA leaders and I live and work in the city's "blight zones" - stretches of North and West Philadelphia whose chief physical characteristic is thousands of dark, dangerous and unsightly buildings. The recent massacre of seven people in West Philadelphia was the latest in a long line of violent and criminal acts in these neglected structures.
NEWS
December 3, 2001
IHAVE A solution to the blight-removal stalemate between Street and Verna: Evacuate all hard-working, taxpaying, law-abiding, licensed and insured, honest, decent citizens and then call in F-16 airstrikes to eradicate all the things that make this city a bad place to live. After the dust settles, then we can all move back in and "rebuild. " It's working in Afghanistan, so I'm sure it would work here. James J. Dowling Jr. Philadelphia Not so fast, Eddie Ex-Mayor Ed Rendell is attempting to subject the entire state to another Rendell administration.
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REAL_ESTATE
March 22, 2015 | By Erin Arvedlund, Inquirer Staff Writer
Anuj Gupta and Brad Copeland are the backbone of Mt. Airy USA, one of the few nonprofit real estate developers focusing on distressed properties in East Mount Airy. They are pushing to include more residential units in its real estate portfolio, part of a "virtuous circle" that Gupta argues will revive the area. In June 2014, Mt. Airy USA rehabbed 59 E. Phil Ellena St., the first location it redeveloped using the state's Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act of 2008, which lets community development and other groups take over tax-delinquent, blighted or vacant properties, and rehab or demolish them.
NEWS
February 10, 2015 | William Bender
Editor note: Chillin' Wit' is an occasional Monday feature of the Daily News that spotlights a name in the news away from the job. JOB ITZKOWITZ, Old City District executive director, likes to keep an eye on what's happening in "America's most historic square mile. " That's considerably easier to do when you're 6 feet 7 and jacked up on coffee from Cafe Ole. "I think I'm still finding alleys that I didn't know about," Itzkowitz, 36, says after digesting Sunday's New York Post , then setting out on foot to admire new construction and fret about cracked sidewalks.
NEWS
January 22, 2015 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
With the crack of metal against wood, and a rumble that briefly shook the sidewalk, the ornate molding that pointed skyward from the roof of the Louis Street house disappeared Tuesday morning into the jaws of an excavator's bucket. Within an hour, most of the building was on the street in a pile of bricks and debris, soon to be hauled away. The long-vacant house at 1510 Louis in Camden's Whitman Park neighborhood, one of many that officials say have harbored crime over the years, was gone by Tuesday afternoon.
NEWS
December 23, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like many stretches of Camden's notorious Whitman Park neighborhood, crime blooms around the 1500 block of Louis Street. With seven vacant houses in less than a tenth of a mile, the area has been the scene of at least two recent fatal shootings, and, since late 2012, police have seized more than 400 bags of marijuana, cocaine, crack, and heroin, thousands in cash, and six illegal guns within a one-block radius. A year ago, after neighbors told police they feared one empty house on the block had become a haven for illegal activity, officers raided the building and found a safe loaded with a shotgun and drug paraphernalia.
NEWS
September 15, 2014 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
In less than 10 seconds, the 16-story Queen Lane Apartments public housing building was imploded Saturday morning in Germantown, to the delight of many residents and neighborhood advocates happy to see the relic from a bygone era fall. Long a symbol of blight and urban ills, the 1950s-era Philadelphia Housing Authority building fell after a series of precisely timed explosions buckled its bones and rendered it into dust. A huge, gray-brown cloud billowed from the site, scattering debris, family memories, and any ghosts that may have haunted the nearly 60-year-old building.
NEWS
May 3, 2014
Almost 40,000 negligent property owners owe Philadelphia $423 million in liens because the city had to clean up their filthy lots or knock down their dangerously deteriorated buildings. Or at least that's the best estimate available: The city's record-keeping system is so antique that it doesn't know exactly how much is due from some owners or where they can be found. Records of such nuisance liens reveal many discrepancies, The Inquirer's Claudia Vargas reported this week. Some properties were sold without clearing the liens, a basic element of most property sales.
NEWS
April 16, 2014
Old City is showing its age. A fire and a collapse, separated only by a few weeks and the width of an intersection, have drawn renewed attention to the ascendant neighborhood's rich inventory of rotting buildings, which seem to defy the rules of real estate and economics. History, politics, and other idiosyncrasies contribute to the persistence of blight amid the renewed bustle of one of Philadelphia's oldest neighborhoods. But a common denominator is the apparent absence of government pressure on those determined to let their properties decay over the course of decades.
NEWS
April 14, 2014 | By Virginia A. Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
Deer and plants: As any suburbanite knows, it's a marriage made in horticultural hell. But Chuck Feld thought he was in the clear. Although 30 deer regularly cruised through Birmingham Gardens, his four-acre wholesale nursery in West Chester, thousands of boxwoods he was cultivating remained blessedly untouched. Feld's "box," as it's known, may have defeated the deer, but it was helpless against a new scourge: boxwood blight, which first showed up in Europe in the mid-1990s and in Connecticut and North Carolina in late 2011.
NEWS
February 14, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
CITY OFFICIALS yesterday outlined how a new method of levying hefty fines against negligent property owners has spurred them to clean up their messes. Results of an analysis of the Department of Licenses & Inspections' targeted anti-blight program show that the combination of an existing city ordinance and a state law are having an impact on structural eyesores across the city. Philadelphia's "windows and doors" ordinance requires all properties in mostly occupied city blocks to have working windows and doors at all times.
NEWS
December 19, 2013
Tackling blight It is incredibly heartwarming to know that advocates for disinvested communities, the poor, and the forgotten city have succeeded in making blighted and abandoned property something that's worth fighting over ("Her long trek to a land bank for Phila.," Dec. 16). And it is exciting, because places like Philadelphia - and Reading, Pottstown, and numerous other Pennsylvania cities - have a lot of abandoned property. And it has long been one of the things that has dragged us down, lowered property values, nurtured crime, and signaled urban failure and unworthiness.
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