Tough competition ends in an ugly victory

Tough competition ends in an ugly victory


Photo by Luis Valdez

uglyhouse-webMembers of St. Anthony of Padua Parish and other Camden City residents gather at 923 N. 27th St. in the Cramer Hill section of Camden. In a contest sponsored by Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP), the property was declared the ugliest in the city.

CAMDEN — Crowned with the dubious title of the “Ugliest House in Camden for 2009,” the property on 27th Street in Cramer Hill is a symbol of the city’s problems.

Father Jud Weiksnar, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, said the title is designed to bring more public awareness to the abandoned housing problem plaguing Camden “and to focus attention on tearing these buildings down.”

Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP) ran a “contest” last month to vote for the ugliest house. The winner was declared at 11 a.m., Aug. 27 in a meeting that started in the parking lot of St. Anthony’s and ended in a procession to the house at 923 N. 27th St. in Cramer Hill.

More than 300 votes were tallied from residents in the Cramer Hill/CCOP faith communities which partnered with Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation (CDC) that conducted the award ceremony on Aug. 27.

Some 30 people showed up, including Mayor Gwendolyn Faison who declared, “I may not have much more time left in office but I will work to get this down before I leave.”

The mayor referred to the demolition of the house and even called the Department of Public Works on her cell phone while at the meeting. She found out the house was sixth on the list of “imminent hazards” that are to be demolished.

Father Weiksnar noted that not only are the abandoned buildings unsafe — they could collapse — but many are used as crack houses, among other illegal uses.

Other officials at the ceremony included Iraida Afanador, code enforcement director, Zoraida Gonzalez-Torres, a CCOP leader and a parishioner of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral (who proclaimed, “Nowhere else can you stand on a city block and see a burned out building in every direction”), and Manny Delgado, CDC director.

For more information contact CCOP at 856-966-0741.


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