ATLANTIC CITY - Saranne Rothberg's story could be one of an absentee landowner who doesn't care.

Instead, a citation for an overgrown lot she owns at Virginia and Arctic avenues brought the long-ago summer resident back to the town she's always loved - and brought promise to the children of one of the city's depressed areas.

Rothberg didn't find out-of-control foliage when she arrived at the lot her family has owned for decades. Instead, it was the makings of a drug den. Hypodermic needles, beer bottles and condoms littered the area. There were mattresses and what looked to be a make-shift drug bar.

In a summery pink dress and a straw hat, the petite redhead garnered quite a bit of attention as she went about picking up the trash that littered her property.

But that wasn't the end. Now, she has residents and police on the look-out for anyone who tries to re-establish the negative goings on, and is moving to put something back into the community.

Rather than a place to conduct drug sales, she hopes to bring a place for children to play. In less than two weeks, she has already secured a pro bono architect to help build a playground - and the backing of several in the community.

Read Lynda Cohen's report on Saranne Rothberg's efforts in Thursday's edition of The Press of Atlantic City.

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