Fox 29 Investigates: Residents Fed Up With Neighborhood Dumping

Fox 29 Investigates: Residents Fed Up With Neighborhood Dumping

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Some residents of a neighborhood that's being revitalized by a wave of new housing and young people say they're being left behind, literally dumped on.

They say their community is being trashed and they want it to stop.

So, they turned to Fox 29's Jeff Cole.

It looks like the scene of an earthquake or explosion.

Some people have turned the nearly block long vacant lot on North 19th Street in the shadow of Temple University into their personal city dump.

Construction debris, old tires, all kinds of trash, and even a tombstone.

Earl Lively is a community activist who's been trying to get the city to do something about the site since last year.

"3-1-1 didn't answer, 9-1-1 didn't respond, no one responds, our councilman, mayor's office, no one, state rep, no one's helped. Where's our last resort, channel 29," said Lively.

There’s construction work going on here too.

Lively can't get the site cleaned up and he can't get anyone to go after whoever's dumping here.

Like the person who tossed Thomasine and Charles Royal's tombstone in the vacant lot.

Fox 29 tracked down Thomasine and Charles's relatives to let them know what we found.

"This is part of my family, and they threw it away with bricks and trash and dirt and mess like its nothin', like its nothin," said niece Dionne Morgan.

Dionne Morgan says her uncle paid $21,000 for the stone. She was appalled when we showed her where it turned up.

"If you didn't contact us we would have never known that we didn't get the stone he paid for, we'd have never known.," she said.

She quickly called some relatives to help retrieve her aunt and cousin's tombstone.

The cemetery where the royals are buried told Fox 29 the stone was made by the Williams family monument company, just blocks from the place where it was discarded.

"It pains me and I’m very angry, I’m very, very angry, I can't, I can't do this," said Morgan.

Who dumped the headstone and why is a mystery.

Fox 29 went to the Monument Company seeking answers, but the company is chained and padlocked.

Back at the dump site, residents like Paulette Bruce, who lives right next to it, fear for the safety of children.

"No one wants to sit out here looking at garbage and dirt and all that stuff." said resident Paulette Bruce.

So Fox 29 took what we found and the community's pleas for help to the city.

The Managing Directors office tells Fox 29 citations have been sent to two property owners and promises the site will be cleaned up.

However, most of the lot is owned by the city itself, so taxpayers will foot much of the bill for that clean up.

This neighborhood is being revitalized by lots of new housing, largely for Temple students, some even overlooking the lot that's become the city dump.

But sites like this and other similar ones nearby have a bad effect on the entire neighborhood.

"It brings down the neighborhood because it doesn't make the neighborhood look decent," said block captain Agnes Domocase.

City officials say there are 40,000 vacant lots in the city, but city government only has enough money to clean up about 12,000 a year.
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