Philadelphia RDA has no answers on why land sits

    Church group can’t get fallow land to build free playground

    The head of Philadelphia’s Redevelopment Authority got a chilly reception in Philadelphia City Council about how the city deals with abandoned properties.

    Terry Gillen was in Council’s spotlight, trying to explain how the Redevelopment Authority has had problems with properties standing vacant for years.

    Reverend Damon Jones of the Bible Way Baptist Church says his congregation has people ready to put up a free playground on vacant lots on North 52nd Street. But they haven’t been able to buy the properties for the more than a decade.

    “How do we as citizens abide by a process that almost seems non-existent. And why does it take so long for responses to appraisals even after they have received payment
    of requested fees.”

    Gillen of the RDA admitted she couldn’t understand the problem.

    “I’ll have to go back and figure out why it’s been in the system for thirteen years, because that’s a sign the system is really not working well.”

    Council members say this is just one of many examples of city land stuck in limbo.

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