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2010 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference


Download PDFs of some of the presentations from the 2010 Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference here. More presentation and participant list to come.

 

TRAINING SEMINARS

Wednesday, October 13 – 2:30-5:30 pm

 

A. Sell That House! Teaming Up to Sell Houses and Neighborhoods in Weak Markets

Single-family housing developers who hope to rehabilitate and sell property quickly to stabilize neighborhoods will be most successful if they look beyond the footprint of the property and partner with others to sell the neighborhood as well as the house. In part one of this seminar, learn a wide variety of successful sales techniques for houses and neighborhoods in urban markets—carried out by residents, Realtors®, nonprofits, governments, and developers. In part two, learn about an integrated system to sell city neighborhoods, city houses, and an urban lifestyle with a team of panelists working together in one city.

 

Marcia Nedland, Fall Creek Consultants

David Reierson, Homeport

Johnette A. Richardson, Belair-Edison Neighborhood, Inc.

 

B. Receivership for Reclaiming Problem Properties—Strategies and Tactics for Taking Nuisance Abatement Cases to Scale (3 CLE)

Communities from Los Angeles to Baltimore are experimenting with court appointed receivers or conservators to manage the rehabilitation and revitalization of substandard and vacant properties. These nuisance abatement actions can address distressed real estate owned (REO) and investment properties and the increasing number of vacant commercial buildings. As more states enact specialized receivership statutes, prosecutors, code inspectors, and community groups struggle with how to take nuisance abatement litigation to scale. This interactive seminar will thoroughly explore the feasibility of designing and operating an effective nuisance abatement and receivership program—the costs, the benefits, the legal tactics, and policy and outreach strategies. Presenters will examine different state laws and cases, with the goal of identifying model practices.

 

The Honorable William Abrashkin, Springfield Housing Authority

Mark S. Adams, California Receivership Group, LLC.

Diane Silva-Martinez, San Diego City Attorney’s Office

 

 

C. Re-Imagining America’s Older Industrial Cities

What does the future hold for America’s shrinking older cities? After decades of population and job loss, cities like Youngstown, Cleveland, and Detroit have embarked on ambitious efforts to re-imagine themselves as smaller but healthier cities, taking a fresh look at reusing land, revitalizing neighborhoods, and building new economic engines. Participants will hear from people in these and other cities engaged in rethinking their future, explore the risks as well as the opportunities, and engage in a dialogue on what the re-imagining process can mean for their own communities.

 

Robert N. Brown, Cleveland City Planning Commission

John Gower, City of Dayton, OH

Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress/The Brookings Institution

Olga Stella, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

Lavea Brachman, Greater Ohio Policy Center

Presley L. Gillespie, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation

 

D. Land Banking 101

This training will provide a comprehensive overview of several land bank models across the country. Learn the ins and outs of everyday land bank operations including programs, budgets, and staffing models. Hear about how others have adapted their land bank to fit the needs and capacity of their community, and learn what you can achieve through the creation of a land bank.

 

Gus Frangos, Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation

Amy Hovey, Center for Community Progress

Christopher Norman, Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority

Michael Freeman, Center for Community Progress

 

E. Research and Data Analysis for Neighborhood Stabilization

Among the collaborative efforts emerging in response to the housing crisis, those between researchers and practitioners have been a guiding light to plan neighborhood stabilization. Given the rapidly changing environment faced by borrowers and communities, adaptive strategies based on timely data analysis with rich feedback from the ground may be one of the best tools for recovery. This seminar will present a comprehensive overview on how research and practice can—and have—come together to support recovery strategies. How can similar data tools inform different place-based strategies, and what can be learned from other regions? Participants will join a closing roundtable to identify emerging challenges and needs for new practical research.

 

Prabal Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Dan Immergluck, Georgia Institute of Technology

Kurt Metzger, Data Driven Detroit

Brian A. Mikelbank, Cleveland State University

Lisa Nelson, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

 


CONCURRENT SESSION 1

Thursday, October 14 – 10:15-11:45 am

A. Life of An REO

With the significant rise in foreclosures impacting communities across the nation, it’s important for practitioners and policymakers to understand the whole life cycle of REO property and how servicer changes and recent federal actions are likely to change the life cycle. This facilitated discussion will engage experts from the servicing, asset management, and nonprofit developer worlds in an animated dialogue about how decisions are made regarding distressed property. Panelists will explore the financial, legal, structural, and social issues that determine the disposition of mortgage-foreclosed properties, what happens when the cost of foreclosure exceeds the property value, how the foreclosure process is being revisited, how servicers are influenced by the investor-owners of these assets, and how local housing providers can proactively help effectuate the best outcomes.

 

No presentations available

 

B. Using Data to Strengthen a Community’s Foreclosure Response Efforts

Presenters from a handful of National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) members will discuss how they have obtained and applied local administrative data to help their communities strategically address foreclosures, as well as to help aid broader revitalization efforts. In addition to specific case studies, session attendees will learn about NNIP—a 35-city network of local civic groups and university institutes that operates neighborhood-level data systems and conducts action-oriented research to address a variety of challenges.

 

Michael Schramm, Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp.

Robert Gradeck, University Center for Urban Research – University of Pittsburgh

James Lucht, The Providence Plan

 

 

C. Creative Financing for the Redevelopment of Vacant Properties

Obtaining financing for the renovation of vacant properties within the urban core can be difficult, especially in today’s commercial lending environment. Leveraging conventional and government financing along with brownfield tax increment financing, low-income housing tax credits, and historic and new market tax credits can help to create equity, improve internal rates of return, and help projects come to fruition. Presenters will explain what these incentives are, how they work, the specific project benefits they bring, and how they can be packaged. In short, experts will discuss how the resources can creatively be integrated into a broader vacant property reclamation strategy.

 

Charlie Bartsch, U.S. EPA – Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response

Tracey A. Nichols, City of Cleveland

Evans Paull, Redevelopment Economics

 

 

D. The Memphis Approach: Broad Community Engagement in the Problem Property Battle

Panelists will tell the Memphis story of how the private sector and community development corporations are working together to engage government and the courts in addressing vacant properties, blight, and neighborhood deterioration. Learn how Memphis’s unique, inclusive partnership has moved vacant and abandoned property issues forward, how to build the right team, and how incremental victories helped build momentum for the larger wins down the road. This session will help motivate communities that have only a few crusaders working on these issues as they return home and build a team.

 

Intro presentation

Tk Buchanan, Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action (video clip coming soon)

The Honorable Larry E. Potter, Shelby County General Sessions Court

 

E. Restoring Confidence to Neighborhoods in the Middle

Middle neighborhoods are the critical strategic battleground for cities hoping to retain and attract the working- and middle-class households essential for urban survival. These still vital neighborhoods urgently need thoughtful intervention to reverse growing disinvestment pressures. In recent years, practitioners have learned that strategies that focus on the central goal of building confidence are powerful tools for revitalizing neighborhoods, enabling them to compete effectively for the investment choices of homebuyers and responsible investors. Confidence-building strategies can also further social equity and build a better quality of life for all neighborhood residents. In this session we’ll explore the underpinnings of these strategies and how they are being implemented in large cities and small towns around the country.

 

John Bridger, Community Impact of Chattanooga

Johnette A. Richardson, Belair-Edison Neighborhood Inc.

 

 

F. New Directions in State Policy (1.5 CLE)

A growing number of states are actively rethinking the relationship of land use, vacant properties, and policies that promote vital, viable neighborhoods and communities. Attend this session to hear about issues and advocacy that are part of legislative agendas in states across the country. Practitioners and experts will discuss what is happening in the states and how advocates are winning better policies and more resources for vacant properties remediation and more effective land use. This interactive session will feature discussion of agendas, strategies, and results. Ample time will be allotted for participant discussion.

 

No presentations available

 

G. Decision Making For Alternative Site Reuse

There are many approaches to reusing previously developed land. But vacant sites are not all the same, and it’s critical for communities to consider site conditions when determining the alternative that best meets their needs. Join this session to hear about the benefits of two alternative uses—green water infrastructure and urban agriculture—and about the issues communities need to understand when making decisions about what use best matches the potential for each site. Speakers will share tools and methods for exploring how health impacts, resource management, and ecosystem service potential affect decisions.

 

Laurel Berman, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Brooke Furio, U.S. EPA – Region 5

John J. Mack, Cleveland Metroparks

 

 

CONCURRENT SESSION 2

Thursday, October 14 – 1:45-3:15 pm

A. Accessing REO Property for Positive Outcomes

As inventories of post-foreclosure vacant and blighted property grow and continue to damage local markets, a number of initiatives have begun to look at how bank-owned REO property can be diverted away from irresponsible and predatory investors and toward beneficial ownership by nonprofits, responsible private developers, local governments, and land banks. This session will explore REO investor trends and business models, the obstacles community-oriented developers and practitioners face in competing with predatory investors, innovative programs that are emerging to overcome those obstacles, and strategies that localities can employ to combat irresponsible “dumping” of vacant property.

 

Frank Ford, Neighborhood Progress, Inc.

Christina Livingston, Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment

Cheryl Stephens, Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation

 

 

B. A New Generation of Ghost Towns: Foreclosure and Abandonment in the Sunbelt

In only the last few years, there has been a drastic change in the physical landscape of Sunbelt cities due to widespread foreclosures, a growing fiscal crisis, and a severe economic recession. Hear from researchers and practitioners as they discuss the planning and policy challenges of depopulation and decline in these cities, present original research on how they have been affected by vacancy, and learn about a series of best practices from the Sunbelt region to address these problems.

 

Justin Hollander, Tufts University

Yvette Quiroga, Fresno County

Daniel Zinder, Tufts University

 

 

C. Place-based Policies: Vacant Properties In the New Federal Policy Agenda

In recent years, the White House and Congress have shifted federal housing and community development policies towards a place-based agenda that seeks to leverage resources in targeted geographies and draws on the compounding effect of well-coordinated investments. This session will provide participants with important information regarding the programs and effective initiatives that comprise this place-based policy agenda, including the Sustainable Communities Program, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and the Community Development Block Grant. Panelists representing cities, states, and the community development industry will provide their perspective on this new place-based strategy and how they see it affecting efforts to ameliorate large-scale vacancy and abandonment in communities.

 

 Aaron Bartley, People United for Sustainable Housing

Jane DeMarines, Council of State Community Development Agencies

Jeremie Greer, Local Initiatives Support Corporation

 

 

D. Two Birds with One Stone? Strategies to Address Crime and Vacancy

Join police, prosecutors, and community developers to compare systems for addressing overlapping crime and vacancy hot spots. Presenters will describe community prosecution systems that leverage nuisance abatement tools and community partnerships that address crime problems rooted in vacant properties.

Speakers will share the case study of a major, city-led vacant property reclamation effort in a neighborhood where drug activity and gang crime spiked following massive foreclosures. Take-aways will include effective civil and criminal remedies, cross-agency communication and accountability tools, and sustainability strategies.

 

Session Intro

John Connelly, North Avenue Development Corporation

Christopher Wilson, Project for Pride In Living

 

 

E. Municipal Housing Code Enforcement – A forceful Tool for Combating Foreclosure and Property Abandonment (1.5 CLE)

Join leaders from Baltimore and Cleveland to explore successes and frustrations in key city efforts to reshape municipal housing code enforcement, a frequently underappreciated and underutilized resource in the fight against foreclosure and property abandonment. The session will explore two models for strategic deployment of enforcement tools and how to align resources with targeted objectives. As traditional code enforcement teams have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of foreclosure and abandonment, new partnerships between municipalities, CDCs, developers, neighboring communities, and others have given initiatives new life. Hear how presenters have positioned the departments as powerful partners against the agents of exploitation and decline, and are encouraging responsible investment and development.

 

Michael Braverman, Baltimore Housing

Kermit J. Lind, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law – Cleveland State University

 

 

F. Displacement-Free Development

There is a strong correlation between disinvestment and blight in a neighborhood and housing insecurity among its residents. Disinvested neighborhoods tend to have lower household incomes, a higher percentage of renters, and many homeowners at risk of foreclosure or lacking clear legal title to their homes. Existing residents, instead of benefiting from revitalization, are vulnerable to displacement as the area improves. This session presents displacement-free development methods that enhance investments by supporting residents with proven solutions like build-first redevelopment, job creation strategies, owner-occupied rehab assistance, and tangled title legal services.

 

Robert L. Damewood, Regional Housing Legal Services

Deeohn Ferris, Sustainable Community Development Group (handout)

Irene McLaughlin, Equity Protection Legal Clinic (handout)

Donele Wilkins, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

 

 

G. Temporary Solutions to Creating Vibrancy on Vacant Lots

Well-thought out temporary use of vacant lots can significantly change how these places impact the community. Whether the intervention encourages an active relationship or a passive one, or whether it’s intended to last one year (or longer) or one night, cities around the country have been experimenting with interim uses that change how people interact with the space. This workshop will explore three distinct models, as presenters from Washington, DC, Cleveland, and Phoenix discuss how they addressed the challenge. Session participants will have an opportunity to work together to consider how the elements of each can support other efforts in their community.

 

Roro Chen, Louisiana State University; John Harlow, Arizona State University – School of Sustainability; Braden Kay, University of Arizona – School of Sustainability; Rebecca Moudry, District of Columbia; Terry Schwarz, Kent State University – Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

 

 

CONCURRENT SESSION 3

Thursday, October 15 – 3:45-5:15 pm

A. NSP Revisited: Progress, Lessons, and Emerging Practices

This session will focus on innovative practices that have emerged through local implementation of Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Representatives from different markets will present strategies for leveraging NSP with other initiatives to achieve long-term stabilization. Strategies will include: geographically aligning NSP with other resources to re-establish a healthy local real estate market and attract sustainable reinvestment; greening vacant and foreclosed homes through energy efficiency and green building models to improve the quality of the local housing stock and the long-term affordability of housing; and land banking properties to achieve productive reuse of vacant and foreclosed property in a weakening real estate market. Presenters will share best practices and discuss how NSP and other resources can be leveraged for greater impact.

 

Mark Goodson, East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority

Katy Lindblad, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency

Doug Swoger, Los Angeles Housing Department

 

 

B. Small City Solutions to Big City Problems of Vacancy and Abandonment

Smaller cities, particularly first ring suburbs, share some similarities with large central cities in grappling with the dramatic increase of vacant and abandoned properties, but are also taking some diverse approaches that fit their smaller size and more limited resources. The panel will address different ways small cities can partner with each other and their central city, how they can monitor problem properties, how to match the right strategy for the specific situation, and learn what it takes to put these strategies into place.

 

Tammie Grossman, Village of Oak Park, IL

Sally Martin, City of South Euclid, OH

 

 

C. The Role of the Media in Reinventing Cities

The media plays an important role in promoting vacant property revitalization by exposing the costs of problem properties, giving voice to the complex challenges in addressing them, and promoting positive outcomes and strategic solutions. Join this session to hear from several seasoned journalists—from newspapers, broadcast and Internet channels, and social media— about how best to work with media professionals to present your story.

 

No presentations available


 

D. Carrots or Sticks: Debating Incentives and Penalties for Stimulating Reinvestment

What are the best strategies for encouraging responsible developers to acquire and improve vacant properties? How can government do a better job of compelling negligent owners to comply with codes or give up control of deteriorated properties? Although there is no “silver bullet” strategy that can guarantee success everywhere, tax abatements, differential tax rates, vacant property registration mandates, and other measures have produced constructive results in a number of municipalities and counties. But there’s also growing concern that some of these actions may harm well-intentioned property owners more than negligent ones. Participants in this panel will present facts and figures illustrating how incentives or penalties have worked well—or not so well—and discuss with the session attendees ways in which policymakers and practitioners can design the best solutions for their communities.

 

Michael Braverman, Baltimore Housing

Martine Combal, Department of Housing and Community Development – District of Columbia

John Kromer, Center for Community Progress/Fels Institute of Government

Joshua Vincent, Center for the Study of Economics

 

 

E. Reclaiming Underutilized Commercial Properties for Smart Growth and Community Economic Development

Despite significant challenges, redevelopment of underutilized commercial properties, including multi-unit apartment buildings, office, retail, warehouse, and industrial spaces, can offer numerous opportunities to leverage community and economic development for transformative outcomes. Some community development corporations and community-based initiatives have succeeded in turning underutilized commercial properties into affordable housing and mixed-use developments in pre-existing, transit-accessible corridors. Taking advantage of existing infrastructure and redeveloping underutilized commercial properties can lead the way towards sustainable community and economic development. Talk with experienced practitioners, philanthropic leaders, lending institutions, researchers, and policy-makers about new ideas to overcome the looming peak of the commercial mortgage foreclosure crisis and advance community revitalization and economic development.

 

Jeremy Liu, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

Susan Mosey, University Cultural Center Association – Detroit

Brian Prater, Low Income Investment Fund

 

 

F. No Vacancies: Strategies for Funders to Combat Blight

Join local, regional, and national philanthropic leaders to hear about the roles they’re playing to facilitate the development of strategies to counter vacancy and blight. Local foundations are uniquely situated to create alignment and leverage relationships with national funders, technical assistance providers, and local agencies, while regional foundations are well positioned to tackle the issue with a comprehensive metropolitan strategy, and national foundations are helping to cross-pollinate best practices from their relationships in diverse cities across the country. The session will also explore mechanisms in addition to grants, including credit enhancements to development projects and technical assistance to nonprofits and government agencies, that foundations can use to help grantees achieve positive outcomes.

 

No presentations available


 

G. Brownfields by the Bunch

Panelists will draw from experience in urban, exurban, suburban, and rural settings to present a range of topics from identifying brownfields redevelopment opportunities, to developing project strategies, finding financing, to implementing brownfields redevelopment. They will describe the roles for key stakeholders, including communities, state, and local governments, at each of these stages. In addition to exploring data management approaches for prioritizing sites and area-wide and corridor redevelopment approaches including Brownfields Opportunity Areas, the presenters will touch on how varying types of contamination, including petroleum sites, are dealt with in these various stages and contexts.

 

Christopher Harrell, Department of Metropolitan Development – City of Indianapolis

Barry Hersh, New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate

Sandra S. Nichols, The Environmental Law Institute

Jesse Silverstein, Colorado Brownfields Foundation

 

 

CONCURRENT SESSION 4

Friday, October 15 – 9:00-10:30 am

A. Looking at NSP through a Local Lens

As the deadlines for allocating NSP funding approaches, many people are anxious to understand how its implementation has affected cities and states around the country. Many heavily impacted communities did not receive direct allocations from HUD but did receive funding through their state program. In 2009, the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Richmond, with the National Vacant Properties Campaign, conducted a case study analysis of how smaller communities and states implemented the program. The study identifies how selected counties, and small towns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia developed their initiatives. Join the Federal Reserve Banks’ researchers and the NSP leads to hear about the major lessons learned.

 

Andrew French, Fayette County (PA) Redevelopment Authority

Paul Herdeg, Cuyahoga County Department of Development

Michelle A. Mapp, Lowcountry Housing Trust

 

 

B. Vacant Properties Clinic: Diagnosing Problems and Finding Practical Treatments

Finding effective vacant properties strategies is often a long and complex road to travel for local practitioners. Join this “Ask the Doctor” clinic to discuss the aches and pains of vacant properties in your neighborhood and see what solutions may be prescribed. Experienced local players will be on hand to answer your questions about the kinds of information and best practices that are emerging through work in many cities and towns and how you might put them to work in your community. This facilitated discussion will be an interactive conversation. Panelists will tackle your questions and help look for practical options that might work for you. Participants will have the opportunity to see if strategies being employed in other communities can work in their home towns.

 

No presentations available


 

C. Emerging Models on Using Property Acquisition Funds to Secure Affordable Housing Near Transit

Hear from leaders from the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Denver who have been instrumental in the planning, development, and implementation of property acquisition funds targeting vacant or underutilized land near transit. In addition to sharing important insights on the particular structure of each fund, presenters will discuss emerging thinking on new sources for “patient capital” and how to tailor a fund to the needs and goals of your city or region. The aim of these “Transit Oriented Development (TOD) acquisition funds” is to ensure opportunities for very-low and low-income households to realize the benefits of living near quality public transportation, including reduced transportation costs, improved access to jobs and economic opportunity, and other critical services and amenities.

 

Vacant Properties Map

Shanti Breznau, Strategic Economics

Allison Brooks, Reconnecting America

Brian Prater, Low Income Investment Fund

Thea Walsh, Urban Development Division – Ohio Department of Development

 

 

D. New Data Systems for Decision Making

Managing, reporting, and tracking NSP activity—and real on-the-ground progress—requires more information than what many communities are collecting. But in 2009, when Mercy Portfolio Service (MPS) contracted with the City of Chicago to manage their $153M NSP initiative, they partnered with Integratec to develop Community Central (CC) to adequately manage, report, and track detailed activity. By June 2010, just three months after making CC available to other NSP grantees, the platform is helping clients manage over $800M in NSP funding, with more clients coming online each month. Hear from the developers of the system and users from around the country about how CC, PolicyMap, and REO Match are working to help create more strategic NSP and other revitalization initiatives.

 

Introduction

Stephen Compas, Adamo Professional Services, LLC

Jodi Gingiss & William Goldsmith, Mercy Portfolio Services

Maggie McCullough, PolicyMap

 

 

E. Public Leaders Answer Vacancy Challenges (1.5 CLE)

This session will examine the pivotal role of local and state elected leadership in the design of new programs and policies to address vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties. Speakers will pay special attention to the issues of facilitating regional collaboration, achieving innovative approaches, and allocating responsibility and authority for decision-making. The session will also identify the most efficient and effective forms of advocacy for public leadership.

 

Phil Kidd, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative

 

 

F. Activating Vacant Land and Preserving Urban Green Space

Learn how Milwaukee and Baltimore—two older cities with abundant vacant land—are enabling residents to improve their neighborhoods by creating and preserving open spaces. Baltimore created a process to convey publicly owned land already used as community space (generally through self-help nuisance abatement) to land trusts for permanent preservation. Milwaukee collaborates with neighborhood groups and nonprofits to lease unbuildable lots for use as urban gardens. A range of stakeholders representing the public-private collaboration in these cities will present the social, environmental, and economic benefits of activating vacant land.

 

Miriam Avins, Baltimore Green Space

 

 

G. Rural Abandonment…Not Just a Big City Issue

Think vacant and abandoned buildings are primarily a problem for large cities? Think again. Now more than ever, smaller, rural communities are increasingly caught in this same dilemma. As the economy threatens their economic vitality and triggers disinvestment and further abandonment, limited know-how and resources leave many rural communities with uncertain futures. Learn how heritage-based, regional strategies are helping to sustain rural America through targeted and incremental revitalization. Speakers will share lessons learned, case studies, and economic development approaches for reusing empty buildings, and sometimes entire communities.

 

Elizabeth Wiedower, Arkansas Delta Rural Heritage Development Initiative

 


CONCURRENT SESSION 5

Friday, October 15 – 10:45 am-12:15 pm

A. Journeying Toward Comprehensive Land Recycling: Tax Foreclosure and Land Banking

This session will highlight land bank and land reutilization corporation models around the country, highlight recent victories in their creation, and identify underlying factors that led to the success. Presenters will also discuss the importance of integrating the tax foreclosure system with land banking programs for the most positive results. In addition to the broad overview, panelists will describe the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia stories in terms of magnitude of the tax delinquent and abandoned property challenges and the current systems and policies in place. Learn how the two largest cities in Pennsylvania are developing a plan to better recycle tax delinquent properties and turn them into revenue-generating land that increases the viability in their neighborhoods.

 

John Carpenter, Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia & Kim Graziani, Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl – City of Pittsburgh

 

 

B. The View from the Bench—Innovations in Vacant Property Case Management (1.5 CLE)

Their positions in specialized housing and environmental courts lead Judges to become innovative problem-solvers. The Judges on this panel devote their attention to complex cases and work closely with community groups, civic and political leaders, and professional organizations to determine how to reach the best outcome for individuals and the community. While not all jurisdictions have the resources to put every one of the innovations presented into practice, both lawyers and non-lawyers alike can benefit from learning creative, tested approaches to all-too-common vacant property problems.

 

The Honorable Henry J. Nowak, Buffalo City Court

The Honorable Raymond L. Pianka, Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division

The Honorable Larry E. Potter, Shelby County General Sessions Court

 

 

C. The Effect of Tax Inequity on Wealth and Vacant Properties in Poor Neighborhoods

A recent series of reports out of Atlanta exposes the stunning impact of high foreclosure rates on property taxes. According to the studies, the steep drop in home values has resulted in homeowners in high foreclosure and predominately minority and low-income neighborhoods being over-taxed by as much as 325 percent, while homeowners in wealthier and more stable neighborhoods are often taxed at less than their fair share. A panel of experts will examine the source of these inequities in different cities, discuss the issue of race as a predictor of inflated and unfair taxes, analyze the implications for high-foreclosure communities across the country, and propose proactive measures that can be taken by county assessors, advocates, and policymakers.

 

John O’Callaghan, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc.

Michael Stone, Cook County Assessor’s Office

Peter Pollock, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

 

 

D. Anchor Institutions as Catalytic Partners for Revitalization

Colleges, universities, and medical institutions are significant members of our communities because they have a mission to serve their cities and neighborhoods, employ large numbers of people, and own well located, valuable real estate. They can play a catalytic role both in revitalization surrounding their campuses and in their cities’ broader redevelopment efforts. Answers to the questions of how and where to grow have impacts far beyond the institution’s center, and many anchor leaders are paving the way for a community-based, redevelopment-oriented approach. Gain insight into engaging your local anchors by hearing from institutional decision-makers from around the country. This session will identify the different roles the institutions play, highlight innovative ways they’re re-invigorating development opportunities, show how they are partnering with community members, and discuss the challenges.

 

Beth Flanagan, Memphis Medical Center

 

 

 

E. Beyond Community Gardening: Building a Local Food Economy

Growing food on vacant land in post-industrial cities has the potential to provide urban residents with easier and more equitable access to healthy food as well as a way to generate income. But despite the opportunity, building and sustaining a local food economy poses many challenges. Panelists from agriculture efforts around the country will share experiences in developing a sustainable business model for urban farming and creating public and private frameworks that support urban food production, distribution, and access. This includes confronting the racial and socioeconomic issues associated with growing food in urban neighborhoods.

 

Mark Covington, Georgia Street Community Garden

Gretchen Garth, 21 Acres

Jacky King & Dora King, Harvesting Earth Farm

 

 

F. Right Size, Right Place: Rightsizing and Historic Preservation

Historically significant neighborhoods and individual landmark structures can be significant assets in selecting neighborhoods upon which to concentrate revitalization strategies. They offer identifiable and marketable places often rich in architectural character, and bring access to unique financial tools to aid rehabilitation, including tax credits, loan pools, and tax freezes. But to take advantage of these assets, communities must have a viable preservation infrastructure in place and engage historic preservation groups in planning. National and local preservation organizations will lead this session that will highlight successful models of making this happen.

 

No presentations available


 

G. Cleveland’s Neighborhood Stabilization Team: An Innovative Approach to Preventing and Eliminating Blight and Abandonment

In challenging environments, cities must leverage and coordinate precious resources. In Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Inc. has developed a “Neighborhood Stabilization Team” that brings together local universities, CDCs, and a foreclosure prevention agency to prevent abandonment and eliminate blight. Through monthly meetings with CDCs the Team identifies, maps, and prioritizes properties destabilizing the neighborhood, links them with appropriate stabilization resources, and tracks outcomes through the Case Western Reserve NEO CANDO data system. This session will demonstrate a typical Team meeting and help other localities think about how to develop a similar process, whether or not they received NSP funding.

 

Justin Fleming, Neighborhood Progress, Inc.

Jennifer Grasso, Neighborhood Progress, Inc.

NST Map 1

CDC Service Areas and NSP2 Map

Slavic Village Map