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Gloucester City Public Parking Lot is an Eyesore & "Drug Den"

Richard Kotter, of the 400-unit block Market Street, Gloucester City, is upset over the City owned parking lot at the corner of 5th and Market. Dscf5783 The lot abuts his mother’s well-maintained residential property that extends the full length of the parking lot. It is also situated close to the future site of the School District’s Middle School

Photo: Richard Kotter points out the graffiti on the new fence he and his brother erected, click to enlarge.

During the school year, the lot is used by the students who attend Gloucester Catholic High School for parking.

The lot was once the site of the Quaker Food store and the former Sand Bar. The City tore down the properties in the 1980's, paved it with asphalt, and put up an 8-foot high cyclone fence.

Kotter said on Saturday, “that was the last time we saw the City.” He continued, “the fence has been falling down June_23_2007_011_2 for the past several years. Plus people use the lot to store their unlicensed vehicles and for changing the oil in their cars.”

Photo: The broken City owned fence, click to enlarge.

In plain few was a red SUV with an expired registration and no license plates parked close to the MarketJune_23_2007_014 Street sidewalk visible to all the people who use the busy county road going to an from the riverfront. Underneath the truck are a filled oil pan and an old oil filter. On the Fifth Street side of the lot, close to the sidewalk, sits another filled oil pan and an old oil filter. "The oil is a eyesore, and a environmental hazard," said Kotter. Incidentally, whoever the person is, if found, could be fined for not disposing of the oil properly.

Photo:  The dirty oil in pan and old oil filter under the unlicensed SUV, click to enlarge. 

Kotter said over the years he has complained to a number of City Departments about the conditions but nothing is ever done.

In December of last year, the Kotter's were cited by the City for a broken down fence behind their Mom’s property on Powell Street. “My brother and I were mad. We look over at the City's fence which is falling down and the City has the nerve to cite us. We figured why fight City Hall and decided to just put up a new fence for our Mom. Soon after a vandal (s) came along and wrote graffiti on it."

June_23_2007_008Photo: An empty needle syringe, click to enlarge.

Kotter said in the past couple of years the parking lot has been used by drug addicts to shoot up and sniff their drugs. Looking around the lot a reporter found an empty needle syringe along with a number of little plastic bags the type used to package illegal drugs. In addition, in plain view were empty beer cans scattered about. Kotter also said at times you could find used condoms lying on the ground. “Sometimes the scum bags hang the used condoms on the City’s fence visible to the children who walk to school to see."

Asked when these crimes are happening, Kotter said, "I presume it is after dark throughout the week. June_23_2007_010_3 My brother and I take turns cleaning the lot of the needle syringes, and other trash. We clean it up and by the next day, the litter is back. We are tired of picking it up. We need help.  We have contacted the Police Department in the pass but our complaints have fallen on deaf ears just like when we called the other departments.” Photo: an empty  plastic  drug  bag, click to enlarge.

With the reporter on Saturday was Bob Bevan, the City's Community Relations officer. Bevan promised Kotter that he would follow up on his complaints this coming week. Bevan can be reached at 456-0205 extension 11 or by email community@cityofgloucester.org

People who see derelict cars parked in their neighborhoods, whether it be parked on a residential property or on June_23_2007_019 a public parking lot,  are urged to call the City Housing Office which is in charge of enforcing the ordinance. The number for that department is 456-7689. Photo: a fill pan of dirty oil and a oil filter, click to enlarge.

If there is a City owned lot in need of maintenance, grass cutting, overgrown weeds etc. call the Public Works Department at 456-0781. To report an illegal activity call the City Police at 456-0408. In an emergency dial 911.

Reporter's note:If we are going to take back our City from the "riff raft" that have been destroying it we need more people like the Kotter family to get involved.  Speak up! Don't sit by and wait for the next guy to take care of the problem. It is your turn to step up to the plate.

Article written by Bill Cleary; Email BillGCN@verizon.net

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