BALTIMORE - The project kicked off in East Baltimore on Tuesday, it's an effort to eliminate blight and use $10 million of nationwide mortgage settlement funds to strengthen neighborhoods and bring in 10,000 families to the city.
But for Ralph Gatheright, it's demolishing a street full of memories.
"It's sad," Gatheright says, "It's sad, but nothing can be done about it."
He's a single neighbor left in a sea of otherwise abandoned homes. His block of North Bethel Street is now plastered with signs reading "Vacants to Value at Work." But the 74-year-old says it wasn't always this way.
"I came in in the evening, I came in and got myself together, and I come back out here and I sit." He says, "I sit with the people and we all got along. It was a beautiful arrangement."
Now, his corner lot is all that's left. He says he first heard of the demolition plans Tuesday; the same day crews began leveling row homes across the street.
"It's sad, it's very sad. And now they're tearing down everything, so we won't have anyone else to live in these buildings or to occupy the buildings. And me being the only one here, hey, it's sad," he says.
Gatheright says he doesn't know what's next for his home or his block.
"I wouldn't like to leave it because this house here is like a blessing to me," he says. "But if I have to go, I have to go."
The city tells ABC2 News that they plan to reach out to Gatheright soon, and say he doesn't necessarily have to relocate.
They say if he wants to leave they'll help with the relocation, but if he wants to remain in his home they'll make arrangements to make that happen.
The city calls the project a victory for Oliver residents.
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