The W Rockland St Project

What one Philadelphia city block can do to change its future.

Photos! Updates! Demolition of the blighted houses at 4817 and 4815 Greene Street

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By Emaleigh | Demolition of the blighted houses at 4817 and 4815 Greene Street, at the corner of W Rockland Street, did indeed begin on Friday, June 2, 2011. Work has continued through the weekend and is expected to wrap up late this week. As of today, Sunday, June 5, both houses are down. Mountains of brick, stone and metal remain. The houses, likely over 100 years old, were towering three story homes (with basements below). The open space left is huge, much bigger than I imagined.

I have been taking pictures of the demolition process each day. Click here to view the demolition photos on Flickr. New photos will be added to the gallery daily until the project is done!

Day 1. Friday, June 3, 2011.

Aine and I have been checking in at the demolition site each day, talking with the work crew, contractors, neighbors, and other city people who have stopped by to take a look at the project. I learned that the demolition, which is being handled through Licenses and Inspection, will be funded by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), managed by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia.

I had a great conversation with Al McCarthy, who works with L&I and is managing the project. He has an interesting connection to the neighborhood. As a kid, he went to school at St. Martin de Porres (now known as The DePaul Catholic School), directly across the street from the abandoned houses on W Rockland. Pretty amazing.

Check out this gallery here for photos of what the houses and the vacant corner lot looked like prior to the demolition. My sister and I began photographing these properties in 2009 in preparation for our first Philly Spring Cleanup project. The main goal of our first year participating in the cleanup was to clear the vacant lot at 4819 Greene Street, which is directly next to the two abandoned houses which are currently being demolished.

 

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3 thoughts on “Photos! Updates! Demolition of the blighted houses at 4817 and 4815 Greene Street

  1. Pingback: Germantown Cleanup Meeting Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at St. Francis « W Rockland Street

  2. I wonder if there will be a big nuisance lien placed on the properties in connection with the demolition, or is the NSP covering the cost?

  3. It sure is great to see those two hulking, wounded eyesores gone. How long did it take – 10, 15, or more years to get the city’s attention? Lest anyone think a more beautiful block is the only goal, let me share with you my top ten reasons (ala David Letterman) for tearing down in order to rebuild better communities.

    ABANDONED HOUSES:
    # 10. Are dangerous.
    # 9. Often go up in flames.
    # 8. Are magnets for litter and dumping.
    # 7. Attract raccoons, rats, and other vermin.
    # 6. Are havens for drug users and sellers and sometimes more violent criminals.
    # 5. Make it harder and more costly to get homeowners insurance.
    # 4. Decrease everyone’s property values.
    # 3. Make it difficult to sell nearby homes.
    # 2. Symbolize the decline and potential death of once vibrant communities, and, most importantly …
    # 1. Something beautiful, positive, and hopeful can flourish where abandoned properties once stood.

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