Turning the Tide: Opportunities for the City of Bay City, Michigan to Improve Residential Property Conditions and Quality of Life

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In the spring of 2021, the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress) worked with Bay City’s Community Development Department, our point of contact, to assess its current practices and policies for addressing VAD residential properties and to identify potential heightened risks for neighborhood instability due to COVID-19’s economic impacts. While Bay City also faces commercial and industrial property condition and vacancy challenges, the City asked Community Progress to focus our assessment on residential properties. We reviewed state and local law; analyzed demographic, economic, housing market, and vacancy data; reviewed reports and program materials; interviewed City and community stakeholders; and visited Bay City neighborhoods to observe property conditions.

This report summarizes our findings and details several recommendations to help guide the City in its approach to problem residential properties. Importantly, the American Rescue Plan presents an unprecedented opportunity for Bay City to invest in preservation of its housing stock and restore its home repair ecosystem. While these findings and recommendations are based on interviews with local leaders and the expertise of our national staff, we encourage a deeper analysis of local practices and a more robust engagement of residents as these recommendations are implemented.