$1.5 million to go towards demolishing more eyesores in AC
ATLANTIC CITY -
Atlantic City has beaches, casinos, restaurants, and stores…but officials in the resort town say that some of the abandoned and vacant properties tucked in between some of these attractions must be removed.
NBC40 spoke with concerned residents who welcome the demolitions. Joie Arrigo lives on Texas Avenue in Atlantic City and said, "We have a lot of garbage that needs to be cleaned up, people sleeping there, drinking there…basically doing things that they shouldn't be doing." She also said the run-down, vacant homes on her block attract an unpleasant crowd. Arrigo explained, "The bums were sleeping over there and they had the nerve to yell at me and tell my infant son to shut up because they wanted to sleep."
And because Joie isn't the only Atlantic City resident that has issues with dilapidated properties, city officials have stepped in to help.
Rachelle Knight, Senior Project Development Officer for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), told NBC40, "On Monday, the CRDA board approved a supplemental funds reservation for $1.5 million to fund the demolition of properties outside of the South Inlet area."
Since the city administered, CRDA funded, project began in 2009, 40 properties have been demolished throughout Atlantic City. Officials say with the $1.5 million in additional funding, there are more properties to come down.
Don Guardian, Director of the Special Improvement District for the CRDA, said, "You have 10 buildings on the top 10 list, and then you have 30 to 40 buildings behind them, all over the city. They've been boarded up for a number of years. They have to come down."
On South Lincoln Avenue, two large buildings were demolished earlier this year, and although it may not look like much now, residents and city officials say an empty lot is better than an abandoned and potentially dangerous building sitting idle in the community.
Thomas Gilbert, District Commander for the A.C. Tourism District, showed NBC40 two properties on Texas Avenue in Atlantic City, and said, "This one came out today - it got brought up today, and all I can tell you is why this is important. Look 20 feet from you; you see a mom and her baby and people that live here. So what we're trying to do is make things better for them."
On Thursday, officials walked through different sections of the city and identified areas that need improvements or demolition. Knight said, "You know, it's not just looking at an ugly structure - it's what that structure does to the neighboring properties that are in great condition."
Residents in Atlantic City say they are happy their neighborhoods are being cleaned up.
Officials say that since the project began in 2009, over $5.6 million dollars has been contributed to the demolitions and repairs of Atlantic City properties.
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