Imagine! I woke this morning to an actual political news article in the CP about Camden! Quotes from our candidates running for mayor about real issues facing the city. At last! But here is the issue - see the article posted on the right about what to do with abandoned housing in Camden.
I don't know why a Republican candidate for Governor would even comment on Camden except to make easy points for fiscal responsibility. I guess that makes sense. But his ideas about urban revitalization should provide an opening for conversation in Camden, not just demonizing the idea.
The ideas put forward:
1. tear down abandoned, boarded up housing in Camden where it consumes entire blocks
2. once torn down make that green space and parks
3. let the city reduce in size to about 45,000
Now, if the housing is boarded up and abandoned, tearing it down will have no impact on the population. So how this guy puts 2+2 together and gets 5 is beyond me. To reduce the population you must have displacement.
But the issue of abandoned housing is percolating in Camden right now. The city could be more pro-active using legislation already on the books. Some nonprofits in town with very good track records are proposing that they have a shot at rehabbing many of these properties to sell to people who want to buy a house (yes, those people exist in Camden).
Here is a great link to a design for row houses that incorporates green space and makes blocks more attractive. Some of our abandoned housing won't be able to be saved. Once the roof is gone, the inside gets ruined and eventually the structural supports rot and collapse. The brick may stay up, but it is just a shell.
So what do you think Camden should look like? Should we be the new industrial center for green technology to create jobs here? Should we downsize into a city of 45,000 (we have 75,000 now) and let the green and trees take over? While the politicians are busy pontificating, what do you say? What do the people of Camden want? Let's get this conversation going and make something happen!