Implosion reduces Lincoln Park Tower to rubble

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HAPMTON, VA-  It started with a crowd countdown akin to a New Year’s Eve celebration, but there was no ball to drop. Instead, the Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority brought down a building.

More than a dozen explosions thundered out from the concrete skeleton of Lincoln Park Tower Sunday morning.

After a moment of stillness – and some uncomfortable shifting by members of the crowd — the next round of detonations started, this time accompanied by the sound of the eight-story apartment building crashing to the ground.

The roof of the building rolled like the surface of the ocean following a wave and disappeared into a billowing cloud of beige dust. When the air cleared, all that was left was 10,000 tons of rubble and rebar.

Months of prep work went into the demolition, which took about 15 seconds from start to finish, and contractors will spend the next two months sifting through the aftermath and recycling much of the material.

Eight-year-old Reed Booth said he’d been worried after the first salvo of detonations.

“I was like ‘Is there something wrong?'” he said. Once the building started to fall, “it was awesome.”

Booth and a few hundred others gathered at Lincoln Park, on the railroad tracks nearby and across LaSalle Avenue to witness the demolition of the Lincoln Park Tower.

For decades, the Lincoln Park complex housed nearly 700 low-income, elderly or disabled residents in 279 units spread across 19 buildings.

Renee White moved into one of the squat buildings that surrounded Lincoln Park tower in 1968, before the high-rise was completed in 1970. She saw it finished when she was 5 or 6 and returned to see it come down.

“It’s bittersweet. There’s a lot of memories in that building,” she said. She recalled families living closely and blending with one another. “My parents both worked, but we could always get a babysitter or a meal.”

 

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