It seems that every few weeks, we have a new development to tell you about in the neighborhood surrounding Temple University. Today, we have the opposite, a stark reminder of what several of these blocks looked like just a few years ago. The 1300 block of Carlisle St. is entirely vacant and blighted, despite the presence of new construction immediately to the west on 15th Street.

Only two structures on the block

But how does this block remain locked in the past while development thrives around the corner? Take 1314-1318 N Carlisle St., for example. All three properties were purchased by someone named April Hall back in 2002 from the Redevelopment Authority. The minutes from the meeting that granted her these properties are unavailable online, but we would have to assume that she made some promise to maintain her lots and develop them at some point in the future. How’s that going, you may ask?

The home remains a shell

And a shanty has been built next door

Remarkably, Ms. Hall, who owns no other properties in Philadelphia, has been able to keep up on her onerous annual tax bill of about $150 per property per year. Perhaps even more remarkably, these properties only have a couple of open violations on them at this time. Not at all remarkable but certainly most depressing is that the PRA has the power to take these properties back from Ms. Hall and sell them to legitimate investors with a plan, but appears unwilling, uninterested, or unable to get its act together to proceed with such an action.

Nah, much better to fight with people turning vacant lots into garden spaces.