Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 25, 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!

Twin brick homes in Buffalo (Credit: Chelsea Allingfor Center for Community Progress,  2014)

Twin brick homes in Buffalo (Credit: Chelsea Allingfor Center for Community Progress, 2014)

Indiana

Efforts made to fight blight on several fronts“Muncie’s blight is ‘roughly equal in the share of our housing to that of Detroit. If we continue to demolish and renovate…at the current rate, it will take something like a century to work through the current excess supply of housing.’” Jeff Ward | The Star Press | March 19, 2016

Louisiana

New Orleans thinks “bigger” on blight“The teams … spent six months developing recommendations that take into account how such lots can be used to encourage job and business creation, support long-range planning, and provide environmental benefits.” Jen Kinney | Next City | March 18, 2016

Maryland

City proves value in rehabbed vacant properties“Some critics say the tactics are excessive and heavy-handed when it comes to taking over vacant, decaying properties in Baltimore. But the city offers proof its actions are improving neighborhoods.” Barry Sims | WBAL TV | March 21, 2016

Michigan

Kalamazoo to knock down building so farmers market can grow“The city of Kalamazoo announced this week it had received an $84,000 grant from the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority to tear down a vacant building directly south of the farmers market to make room for more farmers market vendors.” Emily Monacelli | M Live | March 17, 2016

How a startup training center is rebuilding Detroit’s workforce“The DTC offers dozens of vocational training and certification programs–everything from heavy equipment operation to blight removal and deconstruction training–that are helping Detroiters overcome obstacles to employment.” Model D Media | March 15, 2016

New York

OPINION: To grow Syracuse’s property tax base, create incentives for people to buy homes“Just as they have made investments to grow sales tax, our city, county, and state governments need to make strategic investments to stabilize and grow our property tax base.” Tim Rudd | Syracuse.com | March 11, 2016

Tennessee

New blueprint gains momentum in Memphis’ continuing fight against blight“Thursday marked a new era in blight eradication with the official unveiling of the Memphis Neighborhood Blight Elimination Charter, a document that will serve as a guide for greater Memphis in the ongoing fight to purge the city blight.” Linda A. Moore | The Commercial Appeal | March 17, 2016

West Virginia

Huntington, WV, hopes to trim number of vacant properties“Mayor Steve Williams has voiced a hope that the register will provide an increased motivation for owners to do something with their properties, rather than letting them remain unoccupied.” James E. Castro | The State Journal | March 16, 2016

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Credit: Cooperative Community of New West Jackson

Co-op of new West Jackson, transforming a neighborhood“Beginning in an 8-block area, their mission is to find sustainable solutions to the chronic economic and social challenges they face by matching residents’ underemployed skillsets and abandoned property resources with a creative placemaking effort that centers on local food production, folk art, and rehabilitation.” West Jackson | February 5, 2016