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Seven Cities Selected to Tackle Vacant and Problem Properties at Leadership Institute (Press Release)

February 10, 2015

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Community Progress Leadership Institute 

FLINT, Mich. – Delegations from seven cities across three states have been selected to attend the 2015 Community Progress Leadership Institute (CPLI), a training program focused on equipping leaders with the skills to address large inventories of blighted and vacant properties for the benefit of their communities.

CPLI, a program of the national Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), will be held on the campus of Harvard Law School on March 17-20, 2015.

Delegations of up to six people from each of the following cities will participate: Brockton, Mass.; Fitchburg, Mass.; Lawrence, Mass.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Greensboro, N.C.; and High Point, N.C. Cities were chosen through an invitation-only, competitive application process.

The selected cities range in population from just over 40,000 to nearly half a million and have citywide housing vacancy rates of 6-19% and high rates of abandonment. They also face challenges such as mortgage foreclosure, poverty, tax delinquency, and other property issues. These cities were selected for CPLI because they demonstrate strong leadership and a commitment to developing new solutions for vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties.

Community Progress Leadership Institute sessions will address how to prevent blight and vacancy and how to return vacant buildings and land to productive use. Some of the technical tools that will be explored are data and market analysis, delinquent tax enforcement reform, strategic code enforcement, and land banking. In addition, Cambridge Leadership Associates, an international leadership development practice, will conduct workshops exploring adaptive leadership.

“The Community Progress Leadership Institute is a special opportunity for local leaders to build new skills and knowledge,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “Perhaps even more importantly, it’s a chance for each delegation to work together to develop new ideas and partnerships that could transform their community’s fight against blighted properties.”

2015 marks the fourth time Community Progress has brought together a Community Progress Leadership Institute class since 2010. Past graduates of CPLI have worked with legislators and other stakeholders to draft, advocate for, and pass state and local laws; streamlined systems to acquire and dispose of properties; improved data collection and use; deployed strategic local code enforcement operations; convened statewide leadership summits; and developed new systems that enable cross-agency and multi-stakeholder coordination on blight remediation.

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, from blight prevention, through the acquisition and maintenance of problem properties, to their productive reuse. Major support for Community Progress is generously provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

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