By Dylan Deprey
There is nothing more unpleasing to the eye then half of a demolished building.
The jagged wooden boards of what used to be a thriving business hang, moving with sudden gusts of wind.
Cigarette butts, syringes, and makeshift beds cover the ground as a new layer of carpet. Criminal acts ranging from drugs to prostitution are being conducted at this spot.
The abandoned Citation plant, located a block North of N. 27th St. and W. Capitol Dr. walls, encrusted in graffiti have been a cesspool for crime.
Wednesday, May 4 was the perfect date for newly elected Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton to announce the city’s fight against crime with, “Out of Harm’s Way.”
“We are striving to eliminate severely damaged properties in the city that have served as hiding places for criminal behavior, and we plan to get our community out of harm’s way from threats like vandalism, theft and intimidation,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton and other elected officials have created Promise Zones, or targeted areas of high criminal behavior, poverty and homelessness. The abandoned Citation factory was one of the Promise Zones.
The “Out of Harm’s Way” project will advocate for private and public partnerships to demolish the hazardous hubs scattered throughout Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee industrial real estate firm, Phoenix Investors, joined Hamilton in his fight to demolish the Citation factory as well as other vacant properties.
Phoenix Investors owned a business next to the Citation factory. They have experienced second-hand criminal activity that resulted from the abandoned factory.
County Executive Chris Abele applauded Hamilton in his efforts of connecting the city and businesses to fight against crime-ridden properties.
“Rebuilding communities and making our neighborhoods safer and more prosperous should always be a team effort,” Abele said.
Abele also noted Hamilton’s work involving Milwaukee County with this issue as well.
“This is a great sign that real change can happen when everyone works together,” Abele said.
Phoenix Investors have taken sole responsibility over the Citation factory project. Demolition of the entire building began in April, and is planned to be finished near the end of May.