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Editorial: Knock it down, already

Posted: August 13, 2018 4:33 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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Weeds, dilapidated, boarded up storefronts, broken windows, refuse and garbage largely characterize the abandoned former Bi-Lo Shopping Center off DeKalb Street in Camden.

We have seen many improvements in Camden in recent times and we are appreciative of those efforts. New creations such as the tennis/pickleball complex and beautiful reinventions such as City Arena have added greatly to Camden, and we hope that trend continues.

However, an equally important tool is the wrecking ball. More specifically, we have been just as relieved to see old eyesores disappear from the landscape as we are pleased to see new creations springing forth. While we will certainly miss such icons as the bowling alley and the old Pine Tree Hill Elementary School, it cannot be denied that they were too far gone for any option other than demolition.

When a building becomes derelict, sometimes the best thing to do is to get rid of it. The fact is, if no attention is given to these places, they go beyond being eyesores -- they become nuisances, even dangers, to the public. Criminal activity occurs frequently in and around such sites. Hazardous materials, such as asbestos, may be present. Vagrants spend time there, bringing with them a separate set of issues the public will have to resolve.

One such site we would strongly suggest demolishing, ASAP, is the former Bi-Lo Shopping Center in Camden. The parking lot is a shambles; the buildings far beyond renovation. It would clearly be in the best interest of everyone - - neighbors, city, citizens, even property owners -- to raze it and start anew.
We again commend the property owners for taking the very positive step of annexing the property into the city of Camden last summer and hope they -- or someone -- will take the next step and make the place a “clean slate.” Perhaps the city can help by waiving any associated fees or otherwise helping to cut through whatever red tape is involved.
We don’t really care what it takes; just knock it down, already, before someone gets hurt.

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