Headlines: All the latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – May 1, 2014

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This is our twice-monthly round-up of the top stories about vacant, abandoned, and problem properties. These headlines are shared for informational purposes only; sharing does not indicate endorsement.

(Missed the last post? Its archived on our blog.)

We offer up highlights here, but follow us on Twitter for all the latest headlines, in real time. And we’re scouring the web so you don’t have to, but if you have a headline to share, feel free to email us!


Fighting blight with technology in Phoenix“It’s just plexiglass, but officials with the City of Phoenix said it has suddenly become one of the best ways to stop the spread of urban blight.” Nick VinZant | ABC 15 | April 22, 2014


Cities and towns receive $4 Million to clean up blight“Nearly $4 million in state grant money will be distributed among two dozen Connecticut communities to fix up blighted properties.” Ari Mason and Amy Parmenter | NBC Connecticut | April 26, 2014


City hopes reclaimed brick will pave way to jobs, sustainability“For years, the city has fought blight with excavators, clawing down abandoned and decrepit buildings. This month, it started to attack its vacant home problem by hand, signing off on a plan to take apart a selection of houses brick by brick.” Natalie Sherman | Baltimore Sun | April 24, 2014


Motor City Blight Busters to clean up abandoned Detroit police station in anticipation of Meijer groundbreaking“In anticipation of a new Mejier store coming to northwest Detroit, one of the city’s longest-running blight fighting non-profits is giving the Grand Rapids retailer a Detroit welcome the best way it knows how: By cleaning up an abandoned police station across the street.” David Muller | M Live | April 28, 2014

Pastors fight blight by adopting parks“Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled a plan last week to better maintain the city’s parks.”
Jerome Vaughn | WDET  | April 24, 2014

How pop-up stores are spurring innovation in Detroit“Detroit, a city famously filled with abandoned buildings and blighted neighborhoods, has a major selling point for entrepreneurs: If you have an idea you want to test, Detroit has the space for it.”
Stacy Cowley | New York Times | April 16, 2014

New Jersey

Opinion: Transform Trenton’s vacant and abandoned buildings into opportunities for renewal“Trenton’s nearly 3,300 vacant and abandoned properties are a burden on our neighborhoods, but they are also one of our greatest opportunities.”
Julia Taylor and Diane Sterner | Times of Trenton | April 27, 2014


Cuyahoga Land Bank hits 3 milestones in its mission to reduce blight and increase property values“The Cuyahoga Land Bank hit three milestones as part of its mission to acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values and improve the quality of life for county residents.”
Ann Geyser | ABC Cleveland | April 23, 2014


Land bank benefits Westmoreland“For 2 1/2 hours, officials from the Department on Licenses and Inspections made the case to City Council for $2 million in added funding to hire more inspectors and tear down unsafe buildings.” Rachel Basinger | Trib LIVE | April 26, 2014

Vacant foreclosures ding neighborhood values in Pa.“Nobody lives in the home next to Kimberly Merida.” Chris Fleisher | Trib LIVE | April 5, 2014


‘Zombie lots’ returning to life in some neighborhoods“A for-sale sign in front of a new house in Southview Villas is one of the few signs of life in this seemingly forgotten neighborhood near Hobby Airport, where a developer once envisioned at least 70 homes for young families and first-time buyers.” Nancy Sarnoff | Houston Chronicle | April 17, 2014

Houston ramps up fight against blight“The Houston City Council voted April 23 to create a program that would help the city tear down its vacant, dilapidated buildings and resell them.” Josh Cain | Houston Business Journal | April 24, 2014


With demolitions on the horizon, Milwaukee preservationists seek balance between history & safety“Milwaukee does not want to be seen as a Rust Belt city. Although it’s in the Midwest, and its economy is anchored by two blue-collar industries — brewing and motorcycles — Milwaukee has lost only 20 percent of its population since 1960.” Edward McClelland | Next City | April 22, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Photo Credit: Patrick McNamara

Photo Credit: Patrick McNamara

Get handcrafted shades made in Detroit from reclaimed wood
“During one of polar vortexes this past winter, Achille Bianchi showed me the prototype of his reclaimed at his workspace in Omnicorp, which is what’s called “hackerspace” in Eastern market. “Patrick McNamara | Hell Yeah Detroit! | April 26, 2014