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Three Cities Selected for 2015 Vacant Properties Technical Assistance Scholarships (Press Release)

September 16, 2015

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News Release (PDF)
National Technical Assistance
Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP)

Cleveland, Lucas County, St. Louis will receive guidance from Center for Community Progress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cleveland, Ohio; Lucas County, Ohio; and St. Louis, Missouri, are the latest recipients of the Center for Community Progress’ Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP). Through TASP, the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), a national nonprofit, will help these local governments and other stakeholders break new ground in their efforts to address property vacancy, abandonment, and tax delinquency.

The three recipients were chosen through a competitive application process. Proposed projects are reviewed on a range of criteria, including the potential for innovation from which other cities can learn, demonstrated leadership to implement reform and overall scale of vacancy challenges and need for outside assistance.

“We couldn’t be more excited to begin work in Cleveland, Lucas County and St. Louis,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “Each of these places demonstrates that they are willing and ready to pioneer new approaches to vacancy that other cities can learn from. We see huge potential for positive reforms that will benefit community residents.”

Each city will receive assistance from a team of national experts over six months between October 2015 and March 2016. Assistance may include, for example, staff training sessions, legal and policy analysis, and tailored reports with recommended changes. Grant funding from JPMorgan Chase provides the majority of the program’s support.

“There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to addressing blight. It requires an innovative and customized approach to find the best path to recovery,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development for Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “That’s why JPMorgan Chase is pleased to support the Center for Community Progress as they provide advice and assistance to help these cities develop customized plans to stabilize and revitalize their neighborhoods.”


In Cleveland, work will focus primarily on the development of a framework for evaluating the economic impact of vacant land greening programs, as well as an assessment of opportunities to streamline and coordinate vacant land greening efforts. This builds on the accomplishments of the Re-Imagining Cleveland vacant land reuse initiative that started in 2009. The primary local partners on the TASP project are members of the Re-Imagining Cleveland Working Group, including Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Land Bank and Cleveland Urban Design Center.


In Lucas County, technical assistance will focus on the Junction Avenue neighborhood in the City of Toledo, an area hit hard by vacancy. This work will focus on inventorying and prioritizing potential reuse options for vacant land parcels and developing a framework for the long-term ownership of and funding for those parcels. The primary local partners on the TASP project are the Lucas County Land Reutilization Authority (local land bank), City of Toledo, Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), Black Swamp Conservancy and The Junction Neighborhood Project.


In St. Louis, technical assistance will focus on evaluating the property tax foreclosure process for the City of St. Louis. It will analyze the adequacy of existing systems for enforcing delinquent property taxes, as well how to improve the processes through which the local land bank acquires properties. The primary local partners are the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (the local land bank), Mayor’s Office, Planning and Urban Design Agency, and the White House Initiative on Strong Cities, Strong Communities.

Since its founding in 2010, the Center for Community Progress has provided technical assistance to more than 150 communities across 30 states. Community Progress launched TASP in early 2014 in response to two needs: first, the need to develop fresh approaches to problem properties that could become models for cities to replicate, and second, the need to provide individual cities with affordable, high-quality guidance in the fight to remediate blighted, vacant properties.

This is the third round of the Technical Assistance Scholarship Program. Prior recipients are: Atlanta, Georgia; Butte-Silver Bow, Montana; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Trenton, New Jersey.

More information about the Technical Assistance Scholarship Program is available on the Center for Community Progress website.

About Center for Community Progress

Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is the only national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched, systemic blight no longer exists in American communities. The mission of Community Progress is to ensure that communities have the vision, knowledge, and systems to transform blighted, vacant, and other problem properties into assets supporting neighborhood vitality. As a national leader on solutions for blight and vacancy, Community Progress serves as the leading resource for local, state and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization.

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