Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – December 19, 2013

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140626989_86caab6db6_bThis is our twice-monthly round-up of the top stories about vacant, abandoned, and problem properties. (Missed our last email, its on our blog.)

While we offer up highlights here, follow us on Twitter for all the latest headlines, in real time.

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

Where ‘eds and meds’ industries could become a liabilityArgues that a singular reliance on ‘eds and meds’ as an employer could make communities vulnerable to decline as the field changes.Richard Florida | Atlantic Cities | November 26, 2013

Why eds and meds matter for community economic developmentCompanies and nonprofits around the country are using creative designs to brighten up abandoned homes.Steve Dubb| Shelterforce | December 3, 2013

California

New nonprofit wants to transform condemned houses A new program in LA is beautifying blighted lots by planting native wildflowers.Ameera Butt | Take Part | December 9, 2013

Colorado

Some call on city to explore eminent domain to combat blight
The newly formed “blight to bright” project in Colorado Springs is trying to turn around abandoned houses in the area.
J Adrian Stanley | Colorado Springs Independent | December 11, 2013

DC

Local laws do little to protect homeownersA detailed look at tax lien sales across the country, continuing the series on tax lien sales published earlier this year.Alexia Campbell, Danielle DeCourcey, Ted Mellnik | Washington Post | December 8, 2013

Debt-collecting machineA closer look at the dubious company Aeon that has been one of the most aggressive purchasers of tax liens in the District..Alexia Campbell, Danielle DeCourcey, Ted Mellnik | Washington Post | December 8, 2013

Louisiana

Vacant BR fire stations may have a second lifeMany of Baton Rouge’s fire stations have fallen into disuse, but there is hope that new life is around the corner for these buildings. Elizabeth Crisp | The Advocate | December 9, 2013

As New Orleans comes back, some neighborhoods boom, others stay blightedFeatures the neighborhood of Treme as an example of the forces of gentrification, urban revitalization and disinvestment in post-Katrina New Orleans. Eve Troeh | NPR Marketplace | December 5, 2013

Michigan

Saginaw’s $11.2 million blighted home demolition work creating ‘pockets of hope’The large scale demolition occurring in Saginaw is already starting to have some positive results. Mark Tower | M Live | December 10, 2013

Developer in Peru makes final payment on Packard PlantThe long-vacant Packard Plant finally has a new owner who says he is looking to develop the plant into a mixed-use site in the next 10-15 years.Brian Kauffman | Detroit Free Press | December 12, 2013

Plan to eliminate blight in Detroit may top $1 billion, task force saysThe newly formed task force has started mapping the city’s vacant properties, warning that blight remediation may cost more than $1 Billion.Jon Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | December 12, 2013

New York

Plumber from Kosovo hopes to buy first Syracuse land bank homeThe Syracuse Land Bank is preparing to make their first home sale.Marnie Eisenstadt | Syracuse.com | December 6, 2013

In Public Housing, Units Languish in LimboDespite New York City’s chronic lack of public housing, many public rental units lie blighted and unused.Mireya Navvaro | New York Times | December 15, 2013

Ohio

City takes steps to punish bad landlordsThe Mayor’s response to the charge the city must do more to hold negligent property owners accountable.Michael B Coleman | Columbus Dispatch | December 11, 2013

Pennsylvania

The new fight to reclaim our landThe mere fact that the Philadelphia Land Bank issue was so high profile shows how far the field of vacant and abandoned properties has come.Liz Hersh | Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania | December 16, 2013

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

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Photo Credit: Dakota Calloway

PetSmart to unleash Phoenix’s first pop-up park for dogsThrough the Mayor’s Renew PHX program, Petsmart has opened a pop-up dog park on one of the city’s vacant lots.Eugene Scott | Arizona Republic | December 16, 2013