City’s ‘best’ and ‘worst’ vacant lots are both in the River Wards

The Cam­paign to Take Back Va­cant Land (TB­VL) says Philly's best and worst va­cant lots are both in Kens­ing­ton.

The Cam­paign to Take Back Va­cant Land has some win­ners to an­nounce.

It also has some losers.

TB­VL ran a con­test this sum­mer en­cour­aging city res­id­ents to pho­to­graph and sub­mit im­ages of the lots that have seen the most im­prove­ment, or the most neg­li­gence and de­teri­or­a­tion. The dead­line was Aug. 31.

Three win­ning lots were chosen in each cat­egory. A “best” lot and a “worst” lot are both loc­ated in the Kens­ing­ton area.

The cam­paign, a co­ali­tion of 40 labor, com­munity and faith-based groups in­clud­ing The Wo­men’s Com­munity Re­vital­iz­a­tion Pro­ject, will un­veil the lots to the pub­lic Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. at the site of the “best” lot, 2400 N. Mascher St., at the corner of W. York Street.

That lot is one of a few that have been trans­formed in­to an “oas­is,” ac­cord­ing to Mar­cus Pres­ley of the WCRP, by Nor­ris Square-area res­id­ent Pearl Brown.

“These were really trashed lots, but she and her fam­ily got to­geth­er and re­claimed them,” Pres­ley said. “It’s really well-land­scaped,” he ad­ded.

TB­VL will award neigh­bors and act­iv­ists as­so­ci­ated with that lot and two oth­er win­ning spaces $150 gift cer­ti­fic­ates to a to-be-de­term­ined hard­ware store to help con­tin­ue to im­prove the lots.

Three oth­er “worst” lots will also re­ceive gift cards to a hard­ware store to help boost re­vital­iz­a­tion ef­forts.

One of those “worst” lots is at 1400 N. Front St.

That’s just one of the worst lots the cam­paign has seen. Star pre­vi­ously re­por­ted that TB­VL es­tim­ates there are 40,000 va­cant lots in the city.

“Some of them are so bad it’s ac­tu­ally a haz­ard,” Pres­ley said.

The or­gan­iz­a­tion will help or­gan­ize cleanups of the worst va­cant lots in ad­di­tion to provid­ing the gift cards.

TB­VL will award the gift cards and cleanup as­sist­ance to those who helped work on the best lots, and who might walk past or live next to the worst ones.

“We tried to make sure we chose folks and people dir­ectly af­fected by the lots,” Pres­ley said.

Star Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at mjam­is­

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