Five Front-Line Leaders to Offer Insights, Experiences on Tackling Vacant and Abandoned Property at Opening Plenary of Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (Press Release)

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WHAT: In Every Crisis an Opportunity: Practice and Policy For Turning Vacant Properties Into Assets – The Opening Plenary of the 2012 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
WHEN: June 21, 2012 – 9:00 am-10:30 am
WHERE: New Orleans, LA (Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Avenue)
WHO: National Commentator Bob Edwards, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Treasury official Benson “Buzz” Roberts

May 7, 2012: With the epidemic of foreclosures and abandoned homes threatening the stability and revenues of communities and entire cities and towns, community leaders and governments are searching for strategies to reverse the downward spiral. This June they are coming to New Orleans to find them at the 2012 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference: “Remaking America for the 21st Century.”

Leading off the conference, on Thursday June 21st, national commentator Bob Edwards will moderate “In Every Crisis An Opportunity” – a panel discussion among local, county and federal leaders who are working to transform vacant and abandoned homes and businesses into assets for revitalization and growth. Joining Edwards will be New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, whose city – the site of this year’s conference – is a living laboratory for reclamation and revitalization strategies and whose plans to revitalize 10,000 properties over the next three years has shown success in its first year; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who has spent the last year reshaping the $3 billion government she heads to meet the many challenges of a county that has both one of the highest number of foreclosed homes and one of the first vacant property registration ordinances in the nation; Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, who has championed the building of a modern streetcar to catalyze the redevelopment of vacant buildings, and is leading the way for reclamation of parking lots and abandoned lots to bring residents and businesses back to one of Cincinnati’s most historic neighborhoods; and Benson “Buzz” Roberts, who after 25 years on the front lines of  community development is now serving as Senior Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Treasury, where he works on strategies in housing and community development.

With both the legislative and the policy climate evolving at a rapid-fire pace from the national to the local level, the plenary discussion will focus on local experience and evolving policies – at the local and national level and in the wake recent federal proposals on mortgage modifications and the bulk sale of REO properties. Over the years, the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference has become the premiere national gathering for elected officials, policymakers, funders, non- and for-profit developers, grassroots advocates focused on community revitalization – from the current crisis afflicting formerly boom communities to those with long-term population and job loss. In addition to the opening plenary and a closing plenary on the overall climate for cities, to be led by nationally-syndicated columnist Clarence Page, the conference offers 30 breakout sessions, state and regional caucuses and networking breakfasts – plus one day of pre-conference training seminars and mobile workshops in the living laboratories of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Registration fees are waived for members of the media. To learn more, go to Early bird registration discounts and group rates are available if you register by May 20. See the full program, learn how to register here, or visit our website at to learn more.

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