Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – December 4, 2014

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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!

Homes in New Haven, Conn. (Credit: Jennifer Leonard, Center for Community Progress,  2014)

Homes in New Haven, Conn. (Credit: Jennifer Leonard, Center for Community Progress, 2014)



Introducing the latest, more powerful generation of land banks“In the last three years, eight new states enacted some form of comprehensive land bank legislation, according to a new report from the Center for Community Progress.” Alexis Stephens | Next City | December 2, 2014


Wilmington’s Eastside revitalization project begins“This day means that this is the death of an old Eastside and the birth of a whole new Eastside — not just brick and mortar — but the spirits of the people, the energy of the neighborhood, they’re actually seeing some old being destroyed and some new about to be built.” Anne Hoffman | WDDE | December 1, 2014


City turns to residents to reduce blight, increase values“Covington forged an agreement Monday with some residents, businesses and community organizations to take care of some of these properties, some of which have sat vacant for 20 years.” Scott Wartman | Cincinnati.com | December 2, 2014


The business of urban farming takes root in Detroit
“‘Willerer’s story is part of a growing trend in a city with a bountiful amount of unused land.” Amanda Lewan | Entrepenuer | December 2, 2014


Report: Engage community to curb blight“The only thing that will bring an end to widespread blight Uptown is a strong, healthy real estate market that motivates people to buy and improve properties and make owners convert vacant buildings to productive use, the center said.” Mike Smith | The Montana Standard | December 4, 2014

New York

Non profit plans to transform vacant buildings into affordable housing
“It calls for transforming properties in a five-block area into 47 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for low-income households.”
Leonard Sparks | Times Herald-Record| November 25, 2014

Land Bank setting priorities for grant funds
“Land banks are a tool for taking vacant or foreclosed upon land out of the speculative cycle and allowing a community to be more intentional about its uses.”
John Roby | Press and Sun Bulletin | November 26, 2014


Westmoreland County land bank enables Jeanette to clean up blight“‘Communities could have a land bank on their own, but the communities in Westmoreland County overwhelmingly supported the land bank county wide. In this way we (the county) can staff it, where municipalities might not have the resources to do that,’said Kopas.” Margie Stanislaw | Trib Live | November 26, 2014

Penn Hills considers updating code enforcement to fight blight“‘The nonprofit group, started in 2009, would like to see an update in the software that is used to digitally write citations as well as changes in the tenancy occupancy permits.” Kelsey Shea | Trib LIVE | November 26, 2014

Advocates eye bank settlement money to fight blight“Nearly two years ago, the state passed legislation for what’s called land banking – a set of new tools for cities and counties to grab up derelict properties and speed their return to productive use.” Mary Wilson | WITF | November 19, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

(Credit: Anthony Quintano via Flickr)

(Credit: Anthony Quintano via Flickr)

Advocates hope flower farms will take root in Baltimore
“A movement is underway to fill some of Baltimore’s 14,000 vacant lots with flower farms, where residents could grow zinnias and toad lilies and hyacinths to sell to local florists or invite the public to come pick their own bouquets.”
Yvonne Wenger | The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2014