Headlines – The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 26, 2015

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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!)

Park Bench in New Orleans, Louisiana (Credit: Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress,  2015)

Park Bench in New Orleans, Louisiana (Credit: Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress, 2015)


Editorial: Land bank would boost Wilmington“A lank bank could help the city transform vacant, abandoned or tax delinquent houses into something that benefits the community.” Editorial | The News Journal | March 13, 2015


New Orleans’ 2014 blight enforcement hit more properties, city officials say“New Orleans’ blight enforcement process picked up steam in 2014, increasing the number of properties inspected, brought to hearing and ultimately forced into compliance.” Richard A. Webster | The Times Picayune | March 18, 2015


Flint adopts new model to take on $108 million blight problem“In all, 19,842 properties in Flint are in need of blight elimination, including commercial buildings, residential structures and vacant lots, representing more than one-third of all properties in the city.” Blake Thorne | M Live | March 13, 2015

Mapping out how Detroit is tackling a mountain of blight“With decay running across almost every neighborhood, perhaps the most daunting task was deciding where to start.”Mike Wilkinson | Bridge Magazine/M Live | March 24, 2015

Metro cities weigh steel as tool in blight fight“An emphasis on revitalizing and repopulating neighborhoods is stirring debate over the best methods for securing properties in the city with nearly 50,000 vacant structures.” Christine Ferretti | The Detroit News | March 16, 2015


New Nebraska law to keep vacant properties in better shape
“A new Nebraska law will help cities save tax dollars and keep vacant properties in better shape.”
Dave Roberts | KETV | March 16, 2015

New Jersey

From sea to vacant lot: A shipping container condo rises in Newark
“Eschewing traditional construction materials, a team in Newark, New Jersey, is building a three-family home out of 18 shipping containers on a vacant lot, an approach that’s becoming more popular in design circles.”
Alexis Stephens | Next City | March 16, 2015

New York

Syracuse land bank after 2 years: 112 sales, 32 demolitions and a long way to go
“In its first two years, the Syracuse land bank sold 112 tax-delinquent properties to new owners, demolished 32 unsalvageable buildings and helped the city boost tax collections by an estimated $7.6 million.”
Tim Knauss | Syracuse.com | March 24, 2015


Editorial: Cuyahoga County must reform tax-lien sales program that fuels blight
“The county program as currently structured is failing to hold tax-lien purchasers accountable and needs to be rethought and revamped.”
Editorial | Cleveland.com | March 20, 2015

Land bank adds to mission as houses restored to glory“Warren’s “Lots To Love” program has set a goal is to improve vacant lots in the city. On Saturday, one project took a big step from vacant to vineyard.” James Santelli | WKNB | March 21, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Flowers (Credit: Jayme Frye, 2009)

Flowers (Credit: Jayme Frye, 2009)

This abandoned house will be completely filled with flowers
“Imagine walking into a seemingly abandoned house on a desolate, urban block, and finding it covered wall-to-ceiling in dahlias, roses, hydrangeas and sunflowers. ”
Kate Abbey-Lambertz | The Huffington Post | March 9, 2015