By Cathy Duchamp
Baltimore’s inventory of vacant lots grows this week, as crews finish the demolition of an entire block of abandoned rowhouses.
Before the bricks came down, Perlman Place in Northeast Baltimore looked like an empty movie set. Broken windows. Boarded up front doors. A huge contrast from what it used to be says Angela Epps who lives one block away.
"It was just full of life. Every house was full, children playing," says Epps.
But over time, families moved out. Squatters moved in. Epps is sad to see homes come down. But she says leaving them up would have been worse.
"Possibilities of more fires, children being hurt, people being killed, drugs being trafficked, hiding places," she says.
Safety was the driving force behind the demolition. But after all the red bricks and white marble stoops are hauled away, the city will have the challenge of managing 70 more vacant lots.
"We’re getting rid of its blight so we can plan for its future."
Jack Young is Baltimore City Council President. He says neighborhoods all over the city are being re-zoned to encourage the type of growth residents want, and that developers will invest in.
We’re not going to give up," says Young. "We want to grow Baltimore. We want people to live here, work here, sleep here, and play here."
But he admits it just might take awhile.