Amid the restoration efforts that have swept through Hunting Park, some find it hard to ignore the high volume of abandoned buildings and lots that plague the community.
This issue has haunted Philadelphia neighborhoods for many years with no clear record of how many of these buildings exist. As of 2010, the number could be as much as 50,000 lining the various blocks of the city, with Hunting Park owning its fair share.
Sandy Brown, 42, recognized these buildings to be a problem, but has seen a valid effort in restoring the community.
“There has always been a large number of abandoned buildings in the area,” Brown said. “But I know that there is progress being made, one of my neighbors actually attends those community meetings that they have from time to time.”
Others are not as optimistic. Patricia Coln, a five-year resident of Hunting Park, has seen the buildings as a primary source for the troubles facing the area.
“Unfortunately, these buildings have become a part of the community, along with drugs,” she said. “These formers homes are
essentially lost addresses and can easily function as drug houses.”
Since the failure of Mayor Nutter’s 2009 Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI), which specifically focused on abandoned lots in the city, these “lost addresses” have been largely ignored.
For Hunting Park’s future, Coln said she only wants two things: “Peace and opportunities for the community.”