Spotlight on Philadelphia at National Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference September 9-11 (Press Release)

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Bill Strickland to deliver keynote address; 650+ leaders from around the country to attend

Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia will host the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, the only national conference dedicated to solving challenges related to vacant and problem properties, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from September 9-11, 2013. Convened by the national Center for Community Progress, RVP is expected to draw 650-800 public- and private-sector experts in land banking, tax foreclosure, code enforcement, urban planning, and related issues from around the country.

Local leaders involved in the planning of the conference, including the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, sought to bring RVP to Philadelphia in order to draw upon national expertise on land banks and other vacant property tools and policies.

“Over the past two years, Philadelphia has taken several strategic and significant steps toward addressing its long-standing vacant property issues. In addition, a strong team of public officials and policy advocates is working to make a land bank a reality. The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference is our opportunity to share our successes with other cities while also learning from their achievements,” said John Carpenter, Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and co-chair of the RVP local planning committee.

“Mayor Nutter and Council are committed to adding a land bank to the tools for addressing our vacant property system,” said Rick Sauer, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and co-chair of the RVP local planning committee. “The many Philadelphia advocates who support a land bank are excited to exchange ideas and strategies with their colleagues from across the country to make that goal a reality.”

RVP will feature 50 sessions on topics such as land banking, tax foreclosure, brownfields, code enforcement, market-smart revitalization, data and technology innovations, green infrastructure, and green reuse strategies. Themed “Investing in the Future: Unlocking Hidden Values,” RVP will address how communities can capitalize on the value of their vacant and distressed properties to reduce costs, increase revenues, return equity to individuals and create a foundation for future prosperity.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will deliver welcoming remarks at 8:30am on September 10. The “Mayor’s Exchange on Unlocking Value in Vacancy” with moderator Tom Murphy of the Urban Land Institute will follow. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN; Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, IN; Mayor Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, OH; Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, PA; and Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown, PA are scheduled to participate in the exchange. Bill Strickland, President and CEO of Pittsburgh’s Manchester Bidwell Corporation and author of Make the Impossible Possible, will deliver the conference keynote address on September 11 at 12:45pm.

“We are thrilled to hold the fifth Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference in Philadelphia,” said Tamar Shapiro, President and CEO of Center for Community Progress. “Through our close partnership with the local planning committee, a dynamic program has taken shape. Attendees will leave with new tools and ideas to turn their inventories of vacant and problem properties into community assets.”

“PHS is proud to have this national gathering in Philadelphia, where we’ve developed a vacant land management program that has become a model for other cities across the country. We look forward to sharing our experience and learning from experts of many other communities at the conference,” said Drew Becher, President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Registration fees for RVP are waived for members of the media. More information about the 2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, including a complete conference program, is available online at communityprogress.org.

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About Center for Community Progress

Center for Community Progress, a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 2010, is the only national organization dedicated to improving the overall economic and social wellbeing of cities and towns in America through the reclamation, reuse, and revitalization of vacant properties. Community Progress serves as the national resource and advocate for policy, information, capacity building, research and training on the redevelopment of vacant, abandoned and problem properties. For more information, visit communityprogress.net.

Center for Community Progress’ Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) is held every 18 months. The 2013 RVP Conference, themed “Investing in the Future: Unlocking Hidden Values,” is sponsored by Bank of America, Ford Foundation, PNC Bank, SecureView, Wells Fargo, and others. RVP has previously taken place in New Orleans, Louisville, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

About the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) focuses on planning and developing balanced mixed-use communities to create thriving, well-served neighborhoods. Its responsibilities include project development and financing, as well as land acquisition, assemblage and disposition. As part of the overhaul of Philadelphia’s land management and disposition process, in 2012 PRA became the single entry point for members of the public seeking to purchase publicly owned land.

About the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations

PACDC is a membership organization that provides advocacy, policy development and technical assistance to CDCs and other organizations in their efforts to rebuild neighborhoods and revitalize communities. PACDC is dedicated to building vibrant and diverse neighborhoods that foster a stronger city and region. For more information, visit pacdc.org.

About the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a nonprofit membership organization, founded in 1827, dedicated to building community through gardening, greening and learning. PHS offers programs and events for gardeners of all levels, and works with volunteers, organizations, agencies and businesses to create and maintain vibrant green spaces. For information, visit PHSonline.org.