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14 Jun 2014

Mt. Airy USA pioneers use of new tool to eliminate vacancy and blight

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June 14, 2014 Category: Color Of Money Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Mt. Airy USA Community Development Corporation announces the successfully completion of its first residential rehabilitation initiative under the PA Blighted & Abandoned Property Conservatorship Act. Pictured are Gage Duran, Real Estate Development Project Manager, Mt. Airy USA CDC; Kyasha Tyson, Special Projects & Public Relations Manager, Eric Linter, CEO, Dale Corporation; Anuj Gupta, Executive Director, Mt. Airy USA CDC; Howard Treatman, Board Chair, Mt. Airy USA CDC; Melissa Muroff, President, Roofmeadow; David Hyman, Managing Partner, Kleinbard Bell & Becker, LLP; Brad Copeland, Real Estate Development Director, Mt. Airy USA CDC. 


On Friday, June 6, the Mt. Airy USA Community Development Corporation (CDC) and State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker, D-Phila, hosted a press conference to announce the completed rehabilitation of the once vacant, tax delinquent, and rapidly deteriorating property at 59 E. Phil Ellena Street.

“Today is a historic day for our Mt. Airy and Germantown neighborhoods as we celebrate our collective mission to tackle dilapidated and neglected properties,” stated Anuj Gupta, Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA. “With the successful completion of this project, Mt. Airy USA continues to execute our mission to address the pertinent needs of our community with a wholistic strategy incorporating economic development, education and residential revitalization.”

In 2008, the General Assembly passed the Blighted and Abandoned Property Conservatorship Act – Act 135 of 2008 – which provides for court-appointed conservators to bring residential, commercial and industrial buildings into municipal code compliance when owners fail to do so.  Mt. Airy USA became the first non-profit organization in the City of Philadelphia to successfully complete the process of becoming conservator of 59 E. Phil Ellena Street in April 2013.  Approximately four years prior, the property was declared a public nuisance with multiple code violations and roughly $10,000 in water bill and property tax revenue delinquency.

“In addition to this Act, we utilized the Neighborhood Assistance Program administered by the Department of Community & Economic Development to establish partnerships with the law firm Kleinbard Bell & Becker LLP; Melissa Muroff, President of Roofmeadow; and Eric Linter, CEO of Dale Corporation. We are grateful for the public-private partnership we have established to move this initiative in the right direction, as well as the leadership of State Representative Cherelle L. Parker, Chair of the Philadelphia Delegation to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and Councilwoman Cindy Bass, 8th Councilmatic District.”

“Mt. Airy USA’s use of the Conservatorship Act is legislation is action. This initiative is a perfect example of the importance of having a proactive and innovative community development corporation with an intrinsic concern for the overall health and progress of our community,” Rep. Parker said. “With the investment made to revitalize this property, along with the transformation of Pleasant Playground, we are continuing to witness the results of effective and efficient partnerships between private, public and nonprofit stakeholders working to rehabilitate blighted residential and commercial properties to restore the fabric of our neighborhoods. I look forward to extending our collaborative efforts to work alongside our constituents and business owners to encourage community engagement, attract economic development and improve public safety.”

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