Camden, New Jersey has set in motion a plan to shed its reputation as the third most dangerous city in the country.
On Tuesday, Mayor Dana Redd announced that the city is seeking bids to demolish nearly 600 abandoned buildings over time -- 61 of them in Whitman Park and three in Cramer Hill.
“Camden residents have been long asking for something to be done about abandoned properties in their neighborhoods,” said Camden Council President Frank Moran. “The abandoned buildings are eyesores, breeds criminal activities and deteriorates our quality of life."
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The first phase of demolition will be funded through Community Development Block Grant and Economic Recovery Board funds and is set not to exceed $970,000.
The request for bids comes one day before Price Rite will celebrate the opening of its newest store at 2881 Mt. Ephraim Avenue -- making it the first new supermarket to open in Camden in almost 40 years.
The beautiful new facility will bring more than 80 jobs to the community.
“My family and I are so pleased to be bringing a new Price Rite store to Camden and have been overwhelmed with the warm welcome and support we have received from the community,” said Jason Ravitz, vice president of retail operations for Ravitz Family Markets.
Also looking to bring jobs to Camden is defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation -- if they're granted $107 million in tax breaks for building a facility in the impoverished city.
The tax credits would be given out over 10 years and would be conditional on Lockheed providing a certain number of jobs in the city.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based company already has nearly 4,000 workers at facilities in nearby Moorestown and Cherry Hill -- although its unknown at this time how many jobs a new facility in Camden would supply.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is asking for more information before making a decision.
Since last year, New Jersey has been using tax breaks aggressively to lure and keep companies.