This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and problem properties — and how communities are transforming these properties into assets. (The headlines are for informational purposes only; inclusion does not indicate endorsement.) If you’d like to get this round-up in your inbox, join our email list!
When Harlem unemployment pays for midtown luxury “A 1990s-era cash-for-visas program was designed to lure foreign investment to distressed communities. Instead, it subsidizes luxury real estate. Congress and President Trump can either reform it, scrap it—or shore up the status quo.” Kriston Capps | CityLab | January 31, 2017
Foreclosure prevention returns to the unknown “After an eight-year run, a troubled government effort to prevent foreclosures and keep struggling borrowers in their homes came to an end last month.” Stacy Cowley | New York Times | January 25, 2017
Land bank wants to sell more than 4,400 vacant lots“Every lot is within half-mile of a CTA or Metra rail stop or a stop on a major bus line, making them appealing for redevelopment. But Rose and Gainer said they expect the buyers will be a mix of residential and commercial developers, residents near or next to the lots, and garden or civic clubs.” Dennis Rodkin | Crain’s Chicago Business | January 30, 2017
Life, death and demolition “For more than a century, hundreds of people called this patch of East Baltimore home. Now the 900 block of North Bradford Street is about to be ripped down as a city with 17,000 boarded-up buildings lays waste to its blight and its history.” Steve Hendrix | Washington Post | February 2, 2017
Bay City plan to tackle blight and housing glut unveiled“’There’s a lot of interest after a recent housing study revealed Bay City’s supply of homes outweighs demand and neglected homes have decreased property values. “The residents need to see that the city is very serious about this–we’re not going to be going from place to place, we’re going to be concentrating on specific targeted neighborhoods based on what the study has recommended,'” explained Bay City Manager Rick Finn before Monday night’s Town Hall.”Amy Hybels | abc12 | January 31, 2017
City categorizes vacant homes, creates maps “City staff have assessed a list of more than 200 properties in Las Cruces that last year were considered vacant or abandoned — removing dozens of them that are now occupied and taking steps to fix the most serious problems.”Diana Alba Soular | Las Cruces Sun-News | January 23, 2017
Grading and seeding now required on demolition sites in Youngstown“The city of Youngstown is changing how it demolishes vacant properties and so far, everyone seems to like the new rules. Starting this year, any company that contracts with the city to demolish a property must also agree to grade and seed the land.” WYTV Staff | abc33 | January 28, 2017
The costs of growth and changes in Nashville“The displacement of people is a consequence of progress, but it is especially troubling in historically African-American neighborhoods near downtown where more affluent buyers and renters who can afford newer, more expensive and denser housing are moving in.” David Plazas | The Tennessean | January 29, 2017
And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!
Can a community garden outgrow poverty in southern Phoenix? “For those who aren’t tending the land, the site will include a series of murals, a center square for hosting assemblies and performances, and classrooms where students from the Roosevelt Elementary schools — another key partner in the project — can learn side-by-side with residents about science, technology, engineering and, of course, agriculture.” Johnny Magdaleno | Next City | January 30, 2017