Headlines – The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – December 18, 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!

Denver CROP



City looking at hiking taxes on vacant properties“The City Council is poised Monday to pass a resolution allowing Bridgeport to explore becoming the state’s guinea pig for so-called land value taxation — taxing undeveloped property more than developed land.” Brian Lockhart | Connecticut Post | December 15, 2014


Lafitte Greenway project clears blight, almost complete“A bird’s eye view of the project shot by Nola Aerials in October shows recent progress along the 2.6 mile trail and park, which will eventually connect the French Quarter to Bayou St. John and Mid-City.” Tania Dall | WWLTV | December 9, 2014

Blighted homes serious fire concern in winter to neighbors“Vacant properties, especially in the winter time, continue to be a challenge for firefighters and a serious concern for neighbors.” WWLTV | December 15, 2014


Mayor hails success of homebuyer incentives
“Baltimore has seen a “dramatic increase” in the number of homebuyers in the past four years, about a third of whom are new to the city, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Friday.” Arthur Hirsch | Baltimore Sun | December 12, 2014


Detroit’s blight-removal campaign ramps up“The city believes it can sustain a rate of 200 demolitions a week. At that pace, it could soon be tearing down as many as 10,000 structures a year.” John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press/ USA Today | December 14, 2014

Editorial: Genesee County Land Bank demonstrates successful use of state, federal resources
“Since 2004, the Genesee County Land Bank has taken control of thousands of abandoned, uninhabitable homes and buildings in and around Flint, and it’s plain to see the city has benefited.”
Editorial | M Live | December 7, 2014

Detroit getting $50 million to fight blight
“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.”
Detroit News | December 16, 2014


Columbus City Council passes new ordinance aimed at removing problem properties“If certain property owners don’t clean up their act, they’ll have to fork over a lot of funds. “Shelby Croft | WBNS-10TV | December 15, 2014


On the House: Manual offers tips on transforming vacant properties“‘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.” Alan J. Heavens | Philadelphia Inquirer | December 7, 2014


Editorial: How Memphis is lowering crime and reviving neighborhoods“There are more than 53,000 vacant properties in Memphis, and these vacancies scare away would-be investors and residents and allow crime to take root.” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton | CNN Money/ KSPR | December 8, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Vacant homes in New Orleans (Credit: Luke Telander for the Center for Community Progress)

Vacant homes in New Orleans (Credit: Luke Telander for the Center for Community Progress)

Prospect.3 ‘Home Court Crawl’ blends theater and blighted architecture on Saturday, Dec. 13
“As visitors to the outdoor artwork walk from actual ruined house to actual ruined house, the dialog unfolds with particular resonance.”
Doug MacCash | The Times-Picayune | December 10, 2014