When city neglected to maintain its own abandoned property, the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy took the initiative to keep its neighborhood clean by conducting cleanups on the waterfront. Beryl Thurman, the executive director of the NSWC, said that North Shore residents took pride in preventing their neighborhood from looking like trash–literally.
But as Thurman and the NSWC began researching these properties, they discovered a loophole in the land use process that posed too great a risk for the volunteers to continue the efforts. They discovered that many of the abandoned city sites, that sit in a heavily industrialized area, had not been checked for contaminants. And by law, they didn’t have to be. Residents were disheartened to learn they couldn’t continue the cleanups, but Thurman said she couldn’t risk their health and safety. Now the lots, still abandoned, have started to accrue garbage once again.