The City of Philadelphia has until March 2011 to spend $45 million to fight blight.
The money is the last of the bond proceeds for the city’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative that former Mayor John F. Street started in 2001 to demolish abandoned buildings and acquire vacant properies. When the Nutter administration took over, it did not have a record of the amounts left in the fund and is now struggling to spend the money.
These monies may go only to certain neighborhoods – including parts of Germantown, North Philadelphia, Point Breeze, and West Philadelphia – that are specially designated for redevelopment. City Controller Alan Butkovitz said that the time it takes to condemn and acquire a property has created some of the delay. The monies not spent would be deposited into an escrow account until the City has to start paying off bondholders.