BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Boarded up and falling down. Thousands of vacant homes in Baltimore City a blight on many neighborhoods.
Ron Matz reports an expanded effort is now underway to demolish these structures and improve communities.
The kids play on North Rose Street, but their window to the world includes broken glass, trash and a block of boarded up homes.
“A lot of us were living here for about 40, 50 years, raising families here, and it’s gone downhill,” resident Beatrice Bastiany said.
But change is coming–the mayor’s Vacant-To-Value program has already taken down more than 3,000 homes.
“Thousands of homes are being demolished. One hundred million dollars in private investment is being spurred by the Vacant-to-Value program,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. “We’re deconstructing homes and creating green space. That is the progress our city needs and our city deserves.”
“We have over 1,000 additional properties in the pipeline for demolition, and that number grows every day,” City Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano said.
The vacant properties in the Berea community will soon see the wrecking ball.
“What we’re witnessing is the transformation of this community into a safer community, into a stronger community and a vibrant community,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Many of the homes on North Rose Street have been abandoned for at least five years, and they’re just around the corner from an elementary school.
“It’s scary to think that children would cut through this way to get to North Avenue,” one resident said. “These are our children, we have to always be cognizant of their safety first.”
There are about 16,000 vacant properties in the city.
“We’re absolutely making progress,” Graziano said. “I think we have to look at it block-by-block and community-by-community.”
The mayor says the Vacant-To-Value program has generated over $100 million in private investments for struggling communities in the city.