Headlines- The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – February 27, 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!)

Rutabagas in Youngstown Garden - (Credit Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress)

Rutabagas in Youngstown Garden – (Credit Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress)


Why inmates are boarding up Atlanta’s abandoned and vacant homes“The free labor has helped save the Atlanta Police Department’s code enforcement division approximately $320,000, improved mostly westside neighborhoods struggling with vacant properties, and provided some benefits to the people doing the work.” Max Blau | Creative Loafing | February 19, 2015


Gary’s Mayor Knows That After Blight Mapping Ends, the Real Work Begins“’The elimination of blight isn’t just an exercise in demolition or even in reconstruction,’ Freeman-Wilson says. ‘There is an opportunity to look at ordinances and even state statutes that have an impact on how property is handled by property owners, how it’s disposed of, and how you are able to hold owners accountable.’” Alexis Stephens | Next City | February 24, 2015


City demolition efforts continue, but vacant lots slow to fill in“Hundreds of properties have been registered with the city under an ordinance that took effect in October 2011, giving property owners three years to bring homes and buildings up to code or face demolition proceedings.” Tim Landis and Jamie Munks | The State Journal Register | February 21, 2015


Chevy Commons project expected to pick up steam this spring“‘The new Chevy Commons will come alive this spring,’ said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. ‘It will be an important symbolic change for the entire Flint River corridor. And create an exciting gateway for the west side of Flint.’” Sarah Schuch | M Live | February 14, 2015

Up for adoption: Vacant lots“Participants in the Land Bank’s ‘Adopt A Lot’ program keep the grass cut and the property looking decent so the county doesn’t have to.” Sehvilla Mann | WMUK | February 13, 2015

Once flooded and abandoned, house is now a Kent County Land Bank success story“For the land bank, the property fulfills its mission to reduce blight and stabilize neighborhoods, said Allen, who claims the land bank had a positive economic impact of $21.6 million in 2014.” Jim Harger | M Live | February 20, 2015

New Jersey

Event to address blight in Camden, elsewhere
“Alan Mallach, a leading scholar on urban housing, blight and redevelopment, will come to Camden Feb. 27 to discuss post-industrial cities around the country and what Camden can learn from them.”
Kevin Shelly | Courier-Post | February 18, 2015


Southern Nevada’s fight against blight only intensifying
“Fighting blight in Southern Nevada is a never-ending challenge for local governments.”
Conor Shine | Las Vegas Sun | February 22, 2015


Study shows Slavic Village emerging as model community“But the impact of a number of innovative programs is starting to turn the tide in this pocket of the city and a study published last month evidences that.” Erin O’Brien | Freshwater Cleveland | February 17, 2015


Philly may hike the cost of registering vacant properties
“Fees would double from $150 a year to $300 a year under the proposal.” Tom Macdonald | WHYY | February 16, 2015


Chattanooga starting land bank program“Chattanooga plans to start a land bank program to return blighted properties back to the market for affordable housing, public spaces and industrial use.” David Morton | Nooga.com | February 18, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Heartbomb (Credit: Marianne Zickuhr for Preservation Louisville, 2015)

Heartbomb (Credit: Marianne Zickuhr for Preservation Louisville, 2015)

Portland house ‘heart bombed’ on Valentine’s Day
“Old houses need love, too — a lot of love in the case of a vacant, boarded up shotgun house in Portland that was ‘heart bombed’ Saturday.”
Martha Elson | The Courier-Journal | February 15, 2014