Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- As the city of New Orleans tries to tackle blighted properties, some of those trouble spots include what some are calling city-owned eyesores.

In New Orleans East an old incinerator site sits vacant and open to the public.

'It's wide open. If I was a criminal, I'd have the perfect place to commit my crime,' said Gentilly resident Terry Brown.

Once upon a time, the city-owned facility at 10200 Old Gentilly Road served as a city incinerator site. Brown, who toured the site, shot video of mattresses, graffitti, a water-filled chasm and other blight at the facility.

He's concerned about the public's safety.

'If a kid riding on their bike, four or five kids riding on their bike, see that gate and go in there, we don't know what could happen to those kids. It's just a dangerous situation,' said Brown.

According to online documents from the Nagin administration, the 12-acre incinerator site was also used as a staging area during hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

'It's very disheartening to the people in this community, particularly when we hear and see about all of the developments that are going on around the city and region. It's as if we've been forgotten in this part of the city,' said Nakisha Ervin-Knott, who chairs a blight committee in New Orleans East.

Ervin-Knott said such properties hurt economic development in the area. She said a good example is the Read Boulevard Commerical Corridor, which is still struggling to bounce back. Another example she cites: the Ochsner Clinic Foundation building.

'When potential property owners and business owners come out to this area and they see the lack of commercial area thriving in that area they don't think we're open for business,' said Ervin-Knott.

While the downed and missing fencing at the former incinerator on Old Gentilly Road fail to keep people out, one concerned citizen said more needs to be done especially when the blight belongs to the city.

'It should be fenced off. It's too massive of an area not to be fenced off,' said Brown.

Eyewitness News contacted the city about the old incinerator site. A city spokesperson issued this statement:

'The city of New Orleans site on Old Gentilly Road is currently vacant. In the past, during emergencies, it has been used as an auxiliary debris storage site by the Department of Sanitation as permitted by LDEQ. Most recently, the site was used to store permitted debris following Hurricane Isaac. NOPD's 7th District has investigated the site and discovered that the gate was not locked. A new lock will be placed on the gate.'

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