Headlines: All the latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – May 15, 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!

National

Foreclosures may raise neighbors’ blood pressure, study finds“The stress of living near a foreclosed home may increase a person’s chances of developing high blood pressure, according to research published Monday in an American Heart Association journal called Circulation.” Dina El Boghdady | Washington Post | May 12, 2014

California

Residents demand banks pay to clean up blighted properties“Community activists are calling on Los Angeles city leaders to enforce a 4-year-old ordinance targeting run down foreclosed properties they say has been ignored.” Kim Baldonado and Kelly Goff | NBC Los Angeles | May 8, 2014

Florida

Miami-Dade School Board to vote on turning vacant land to community gardens“Located in a city where nearly half of all school-aged children have been estimated to be obese, the chain-link fence at Twin Lakes Elementary wasn’t helping anyone in Hialeah with their diet. It was merely a fence.” David Smiley | Miami Herald | May 5, 2014

Indiana

New blight law changes property tax sales method“Local officials last week applauded the signing of Senate Enrolled Act 422 by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a piece of legislation aimed at helping county officials in the struggle with abandoned and blighted properties.” Bill Engle | Pal-item.com | May 10, 2014

Maryland

City to host sale of back taxes amid concern about vacants“The city will conduct its annual tax sale this month in an effort to boost tax rolls, but some critics say it’s a quick fix that contributes to one of Baltimore’s most entrenched problems — vacant properties.” Natalie Sherman | The Baltimore Sun | May 5, 2014

Michigan

Persistence, luck help new developers build Midtown and a legacy“George Stewart recalls a thriving cultural scene in Detroit when he moved here from Baton Rouge, La., more than a half-century ago to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics at Wayne State University.” Kirk Pinho | Crain’s Business Detroit | May 11, 2014

Detroiters see progress in blight fight under Duggan administration“Mayor Mike Duggan’s efforts to revamp city neighborhoods is gaining traction with residents who for years have been burned by unfulfilled promises of fixing neglected city services”
Darren A. Nichols | The Detroit News  | May 10, 2014

Efforts underway to preserve 90-year-old mural in REO Town uncovered during demolition“Alice Brinkman was in Grand Rapids for a conference two weeks ago when she heard some unexpected news about her nonprofit group’s ongoing expansion project.”
Ken Palmer | Lansing State Journal | May 10, 2014

New Jersey

Home vacancies as blight or opportunity?“On the site of a former blighted property on Ridge Avenue in the city’s north end, volunteers have begun building a new single-story home for a middle-aged single man.”
Joe Williams | Newark Advocate  | May 4, 2014

Ohio

73% of ‘worst of worst’ houses in Columbus have been razed“Thurman Rose wants to buy the two vacant lots next to his Campbell Avenue house in Franklinton.”
Mark Ferenchik | The Columbus Dispatch | May 6, 2014

Foreclosure case filings down again in 2013 in Cuyahoga County and across Ohio, Supreme Court data finds“New foreclosure cases filed in Cuyahoga County and across Ohio in 2013 declined from the previous year, continuing a multi-year trend, according to data from the Ohio Supreme Court.” Robert Higgs  | Cleveland.com | May 7, 2014

Pennsylvania

City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight“Armed with a staple gun and a sheaf of bright pink posters, Derrick McCall is trying to stop this city’s decline.” Alana Semuels  | Los Angeles Times | May 3, 2014

Pittsburgh’s urban farms a growing business“City lots where abandoned houses have been demolished aren’t the green acres that evoke visions of a bucolic life.” Ann Belser  | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | May 3, 2014

City’s aggressive plan for demolishing the most dangerous buildings“Sitting on the corner of the 2300 block of W. Montgomery Ave. in North Philadelphia is a massive, three story house with a partially-collapsed roof, broken windows, and untamed vegetation growing on and through the building’s exterior brick walls.” Queen Muse  | NBC Philadelphia | May 13, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

600px-Sculptures_Atlanta_beltline

Photo Credit: Robert Neff


Can Atlanta go all In on the BeltLine?
“It’s not often one can use the terms “transit-oriented development” and “magical” in the same sentence, but that’s what came to mind during last September’s Lantern Parade.” Rebecca Burns | Atlantic Cities | May 6, 2014