Vacancies Between N. 35th Street & N. 36th Street
The block of W. Lisbon Avenue between N. 35th Street and N. 36th Street has a large amount of empty lots. When comparing today's map with the 1910 Sanborn map, it was discovered that many of the lots that currently exist are residential, as were many of the now-empty ones.
Paul Henry Martinka, the owner of Kehr's Candy, told the history of the block and how a once-highly commercial area came to be a vacant residential block. Paul's largest concern was that the landlords who took over these residential duplexes were careless toward the buildings as well as the tenants.
Houses quickly became stripped and robbed for the value of their copper piping and other materials. Most of these houses were torn down with no intention of being rebuilt. When Paul would walk outside for lunch about 25 years ago, he had 11 different places he could walk to for lunch within two blocks. Now there is not one place he can go to get lunch within four blocks.
Habitat for Humanity has been a great help to the area by purchasing, fixing, and selling houses to the people in the community who they can trust with the building.
Businesses like Kehr's, Family Dental Center, Lisbon Avenue Health Center, and the corner store have seen this neighborhood change drastically between the residency on the block and are making an effort to keep their commercial presence in the neighborhood.
Illegal activity has played a substantial role in the vacancies on this block. Businesses have been shut down for a variety of reasons pertaining to illegal activity, and some buildings have become subject to fire. Because of all this illegal activity, the neighborhood has been focusing on having residents who take care of their property move into the area. Paul explained that when the crime moved in, the owners quickly moved out. He specifically remembers every time a house would get robbed, about four houses would go up for sale.