Headlines: All the latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 6, 2014

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375This is our twice-monthly round-up of the top stories about vacant, abandoned, and problem properties. These headlines are shared for informational purposes only; sharing does not indicate endorsement.

(Missed the last post? Its archived on our blog.)
We offer up highlights here, but follow us on Twitter for all the latest headlines, in real time. And we’re scouring the web so you don’t have to, but if you have a headline to share, feel free to email us!

National

Bringing back the neighborhood: How land banks can stabilize blighted urban areas in ways that the speculative real-estate market cannot “In 2010, the Beach Street corridor of Flint, Mich., was pockmarked with 16 trash-filled vacant lots.”Dan Kildee | Metroland | February 20, 2014

Illinois

Emmanuel Pratt’s mission to turn blight into farms and to grow entrepreneurs“As you turn south off 95th Street at Cottage Grove, you might miss the farm on your left. Most farms, after all, don’t look like abandoned shoe factories.”John Carpenter| Chicago Tribune | February 26, 2014

Michigan

Monumental effort to tear down blight would improve neighborhoods and Detroit’s image“The city’s proposal to spend more than half-a-billion dollars on blight removal creates a Marshall Plan-style vision that would change the face of Detroit and the fortunes of its residents in just a few years.”
Jon Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | February 23, 2014

Detroit is seeing the light to recovery, but it can’t be just a flash“The streetlights came back on in my neighborhood recently, after a maddening two-year stretch when they were mostly out.”
Stephen Henderson | Detroit Free Press | February 23, 2014

New York

Schenectady land bank makes first home sale“Schenectady’s land bank has sold its first property.” Kelly de la Rocha | The Daily Gazette | February 20, 2014

Schenectady land bank makes first home sale“Even in highly populated areas of New York, vacant lots of land exist.” Yi Yang | Epoch Times | March 3, 2014

North Carolina

Seeking Safety: Crime and blight still remain “New apartments near downtown Fayetteville are evidence of the city’s most significant effort to turn around a troubled neighborhood.”Greg Barnes | The Fayette Observer | February 22, 2014

Ohio

Land bank invites garden clubs to turn empty lots into green space“The Cuyahoga Land Bank wants to see vacant lots bloom as community gardens, urban farms, pocket parks or orchards.”Julie Washington | The Plain Dealer | February 26, 2014

More federal dollars coming to demolish vacant and abandoned properties across Ohio“U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has announced that $10,118,750 in Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) have been awarded to Cuyahoga County to demolish vacant and abandoned properties.”Ann Geyser| ABC Cleveland | February 28, 2014

Pennsylvania

Westmoreland commissioners OK land bank finance plan“The newly formed Westmoreland County Land Bank could take ownership of its first property by May.”Rich Cholodofsky | TRIB Live | February 27, 2014

Philadelphia’s answer to blight, coming to Pittsburgh?“Here are a few new phrases to add to your Pittsburgh urban redevelopment lexicon that may come in handy in the near future: Act 90, blight court, Neighborhood Enforcement Clusters, or NECs.”Tim Schooley | Pittsburgh Business Times | February 28, 2014

Tax program aims to reverse decades-long decline in Allentown“More than 600,000 square feet of office and retail space is being built in the long-depressed center of this city, spurred by an unusual state-sanctioned project that permits revenues from tenants’ tax bills to be used to pay down some of the debt incurred during construction.”Jon Hurdle | New York Times | March 4, 2014

Tennessee

Closed schools could add to Memphis’ blight“Many fear empty school buildings will lead to more blight in the city of Memphis. The Shelby County School District board voted to closed certain schools Tuesday.”Jason Miles | WMCTV | February 26, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Photo Credit: SecureView

Photo Credit: SecureView


President’s Preview: Communities across the country are turning to creative board-ups
“Like many of you, I envision a future in which entrenched blight and vacancy in our communities is no more than a bad memory.” Tamar Shapiro | Center for Community Progress | February 27, 2014