Camden's Ugliest Start to Come Down!

Award Ceremony 6 months before the January demolition

January 13, 2010

Faith leaders from two Camden Neighborhoods celebrate the demolition of hazards and the work of Camden Officials. (photos here)

Celebration and Public Rally of the Demolition of Camden's Ugliest, 23 Imminent hazards that span across the city.   The Celebration will kick off with the actual demolition of Cramer Hill's 2009 Ugliest House Contest Winner Wednesday morning. 

923 North 27th Street and 713 North 10th Street are only two of 23 addresses found on a list of Imminent Hazards which were approved for demolition by Camden City Council Wednesday November 25th.     

What makes these two properties stand out is that through months of community work, these two abandoned houses have become more then just two more eyesores, they have become symbols of state and city neglect, as expliained by Rev. Heyward Wiggins pastor and CCOP clergy leader from Camden Bible Tabernacle in North Camden.  "We look forward to a day when it is no longer a question of will properties be demolished or rehabbed but just a question of what is the start date. It is important for the city government of Camden to understand that a clean and aesthetically sound community contributes to the attractiveness of those wanting to be part of the life and breath of Camden."

"Just a year ago we were standing 5 blocks from here celebrating the demolition of two abandoned police sub-stations, which now houses a community garden.  We are confident that whatever goes up on the site of these houses will be just as much a symbol of hope for our neibhborhood and city," commented Fr. Jud Weiksnar, pastor of St. Anthony of Pauda and CCOP Clergy Leader. 

In explaining tomorrow morning's rally Fr. Jud explained, "With the demoltion of 923 and the other 23 Imminent Hazards we are ready to turn our attention to the other houses in Camden, and we are confident that our positive working relationship with the Department of Public Works, the City Council, and hopefully with our new Mayor will make the demolition and rehabilitation of other ugly houses a reality."

Both CCOP local organizing committees in North Camden and in Cramer Hill have spent the last 6 months shepherding these properties through the demolition process.  "We have leared that the process to get a dangerous house demolished is complex, confusing, and complicated," commented Gordon Johnson, CCOP leader from Camden Bible Tabernacle.  Gordon and his team met with then City Council President Angel Fuentes to get the Camden City Council to support the demolition of the 23 properties. "The progress marked by this demolition shows that together, we can achieve a good purpose; when we can get involved, and work together, we can support our officials in completing  and streamlining a demolition and rehabilitation process" concluded Gordon Johnson.

"We tracked this entire process, step by step," commented Mandi Aviles, CCOP leader from Cramer Hill. "What CCOP plans to do now is to go to our housing partners like the CCDA and the City to see what it would take  for all of us to sit down together and evaluate this broken system.  Together we can come up with an improved system that works both more efficiently and cost effectively for Camden."

Wednesday mornings Rally will end with Father Jud "blessing" the demolition machinery before it gets to work on Cramer Hill's Ugliest.

Ugly House Biographies

923 North 27th Street is the official winner of the 2009 Cramer Hill Ugliest House Award, an honor that received nationwide attention when Cramer Hill/CCOP organized the event last July.  Mayor Faison committed to having this property demolished before she left office. "I may not have much more time left in office, but I will work to get this down before I leave," exclaimed Mayor Faison.  "I'm tired of trash and burnt out buildings something has got to be done." 

713 North 10th  Street was featured at the CCOP citywide meeting with Governor Corzine last September.  Shelly McCargo-Braxton shared, "this property is so bad that our family does not feel comfortable cooking and eating in our own home for the bad odors, fleas, roaches and rodents coming form the trash-filled abandoned property."