City’s role in abandonment, blight | ‘Front Door’ opens | Germantown archaeology | Henon’s billboards | threatened turtle spotted

The Daily News revisits the 2007 case of a seven-alarm fire in an abandoned textile factory on H Street in Kensington, and the troubled vacant lot left behind. The whole time the city has owned the abandoned factory and lot, and summarily ignored violations issued by L&I because city agencies don’t take each other to court. According to a study by Econsult, the city owns 300 or more similar vacant factory buildings.

The Redevelopment Authority revealed the early-version of its “Front Door” interface to city-owned vacant property that is for sale. Patrick Kerkstra runs through the new web-based interface, which consists of a map and database, that brings together available properties held by multiple city agencies. The administration says the new interface will allow interested buyers to browse, express interest in properties, and track their applications.

Julie Carroll discovered an underground room while gardening in her Germantown yard when part of it caved in. NewsWorks went down into the hole with local historians to see the room’s Wissahickon Schist walls and slate roof. The room wasn’t deemed stable, so it will be filled with sand, and there’s no conclusive word as to how the room was used.

Councilman Bobby Henon is making it easier for billboard companies in his district to reinstall condemned signs along I-95. When billboards are condemned as part of I-95’s widening, sign companies a streamlined permitting process to replace them thanks to legislation crafted by former Councilman Frank DiCicco. Former Councilwoman Joan Krajewski made sure her district was carved out of that law. Now, Kellie Patrick Gates reports, Bobby Henon (Krajewski’s successor) wants to amend the legislation to add the area from Allegheny to Rhawn back.

Just in time for World Turtle Day, May 23, the Philly Watersheds blog reports that a red-bellied turtle hatchling – a threatened species in the state – was spotted near the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. This is especially good news, since the tiny turtle was found at Lardner’s Point Park, a new ecologically restored riverside park that is already doing its job supporting the river’s wildlife.


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