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!
Can we fix American cities by tearing them down?“‘I argue that there is a lot of demolition that is absolutely necessary, but you have to have larger strategies,’ said Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress. ‘I worry that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'” Patrick Clark |Bloomberg Business | January 13, 2015
EDITORIAL: City needs a fresh approach on vacant properties“These are exactly the kind of properties that Jacksonville must figure out how to renew, revive and reuse if the city is ever to enjoy sustained success in strengthening its neighborhoods.” Editorial |The Florida Times Union | January 5, 2016
New Macon blight projects could take off in 2016“Macon residents likely will see some of the $10 million set aside to tackle blight being spent on projects in 2016.” Stanley Dunlap | Macon Telegraph | January 1, 2016
7 ways the city and state could address blight“Eight years after the housing crisis, the broken system that sped the decline of Indianapolis’ urban neighborhoods remains largely intact.” Brian Eason | Indianapolis Star | January 4, 2016
Highlights of the Baltimore vacant rowhouse demolition, redevelopment plan“The plan calls for about 4,000 vacant properties to be demolished in Baltimore over four years at a cost of $94 million. Most of the money will come from the state.” Luke Broadwater | Baltimore Sun | January 7, 2015
Md. gov. unveils plan to raze blocks of vacant Baltimore building“’Fixing what’s broken in Baltimore requires that we address the sea of abandoned, dilapidated buildings that are infecting entire neighborhoods,’ said Hogan, who was joined by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) and other top officials. ‘They aren’t just unsightly, they are also unsafe, unhealthy and a hotbed for crime.’” Fenit Nirappil | Washington Post | January 5, 2016
Tree project could restore old Wilson school site“Fresh Coast Capital’s plan is to plant more than two acres at the site of the former school with rows of hybrid poplar trees.” Jennifer Bowman | Battle Creek Enquirer | January 4, 2016
Students rehabilitating house“Students are beginning preliminary work on a project that is the first of its kind in the state of Michigan, as they begin rehabilitating the existing structure at 320 E. Division St. across from the high school.” Lisa Bowers | Mining Journal | January 10, 2016
Look for new life on old Detroit sites in ’16“Some of Detroit’s most famous vacant sites finally may see new construction getting under way in 2016, turning some of the city’s longest-running symbols of distress into emblems of renewal.” John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | December 28, 2015
EDITORIAL: Brownfield funding is crucial“But, as the movement toward a more urban future advances, there will be many challenges, not the least of which is cleaning up after our industrial past, which left behind hundreds of acres of decaying and contaminated properties — brownfields — in communities from one end of the state to the other.” Val Washington | Times Union | January 12, 2016
EDITORIAL: We all win when blight is conquered“According to a report prepared in 2013 for the council of governments in Steel Valley, Turtle Creek Valley and Twin Rivers, blight increases public safety costs, drains code enforcement budgets, and scares away businesses and potential new residents.” Editorial | Observer Reporter | January 12, 2016
And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!
Refugees and Habitat for Humanity help fill Cleveland’s abandoned homes and add stability to some streets
“But the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, the faith-based nonprofit that builds and rehabs houses with donations and volunteer labor, is giving the house new life. And Habitat hopes the house’s future occupants – a family of refugees from Burundi — will add new life to the street.”
Mark Naymik | Cleveland.com | November 25, 2015