Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – June 17, 2016

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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 and Gardens in Richmond, VA (Credit:Jen Leonard for Center for Community Progress, 2015)


Turning blight into beauty“The 8,000 square foot lot is in the process of transitioning into a place where the community can work out and hang out.” San Diego Union Tribune | Allison Sampite-Montecalvo | June 7, 2016

L.A. will convert motel units to 500 apartments for homeless vets“The city of Los Angeles has approved a deal for nonprofit and private developers to convert “nuisance” motels into 500 permanent supportive apartments for homeless veterans.” Gale Holland | Los Angeles Times | May 27, 2016


To tackle blight, Kansas City, Kansas, will crunch the numbers“Can data help Kansas City, Kansas, reverse decades of urban decay?” Elle Moxley | KCUR | June 14, 2016


Detroit vacant lots make room for green stormwater design“Four vacant lots on Detroit’s west side have been given new life as stormwater retention gardens, each capable of corralling up to 300,000 gallons of water below ground per year, while creating a beautiful, common space for neighbors up above.”Jen Kinney | Next City | June 9, 2016

City pushes landlords to register rental properties“The city on Friday put out a call to Detroit landlords to register their rental properties ahead of stepped-up enforcement next year.”Christine Ferretti | The Detroit News | June 10, 2016

Detroit turns vacant lots into playground, urban garden “On Tuesday, he and others from the east side community celebrated as crews transformed three nearby vacant lots to a playground and urban garden.” Christine Ferretti | Detroit News | June 14, 2016

New York

Report: Zombie homes eat $9.4 million in property values“Zombie properties along with bank and federally-owned foreclosed homes may have decreased property values by as much as $11 million in Monroe County and the city of Rochester, according to a new report.” Meaghan M. McDermott | Democrat and Chronicle | June 9, 2016


Ohio cities bring high-tech tools to the fight against blight“Ohio’s mapping project will use publicly available data on property ownership, taxes and other factors, combined with property survey information, to create a customized dashboard for each city.” Lee Chilcote | Next City | June 3, 2016

New Philadelphia couple, Rome Marinelli and Amy Mathews, strive to create habitats for pollinators, restore natural beauty of vacant properties“A New Philadelphia couple are on a mission to restore the natural beauty of vacant properties within Tuscarawas County and create habitats to support beneficial pollinators.” Stacey Carmony | Times Reporter | May 25, 2016

New report outlines the struggles of mid-sized Ohio cities“A new report shows that Ohio’s mid-sized cities – like Akron and Youngstown — are facing greater economic challenges than larger ones like Cincinnati and Cleveland.” Kabir Bhatia | WKSU | June 10, 2016

Akron women planting seeds, hoping corn and new lives grow““Kyle Julien, director of urban planning for the development group, said the Summit County Land Bank helped his organization gain control of the land, which is owned by a defunct California company.” ” Amanda Garrett | Akron Beacon | June 14, 2016

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Homeless women veterans getting a house in Garfield Heights“The four-bedroom refurbished house is a combined project of Women of Hope, Inc., a local nonprofit support group for homeless women vets (of which Copez is a board member), and the Cuyahoga Land Bank.” Brian Albrecht | The Plain Dealer | June 9, 2016