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What is blight?

Blight is the process through which a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude. It may feature de-industrialization, depopulation or changing population, restructuring, abandoned buildings, high local unemployment, fragmented families, political disenfranchisement, crime, and a desolate, inhospitable city landscape.

For more information and statistics on blight, see our quick facts page. For suggestions on how to prevent blight, visit this resources page.

What is a BAD Building?

BAD stands for Brownfield, Abandoned, Dilapidated. BAD Buildings are structures and properties that are vacant, uninhabited and in a state of disrepair, whose owner is taking no active steps to bring the property back into functional use.

What is a brownfield?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” With over 450,000 estimated brownfields in the U.S., the challenge to transform these properties into more attractive, useable sites is being addressed all over the country.

Why should I address BAD buildings in my community?

Failure to address BAD Buildings imposes severe social and economic costs on neighborhoods.

BAD Buildings negatively impact communities through increased costs due to fire risks and crime, which require spending on public services (police and fire protection); reduced tax revenue from depressed property values; and are a drain on local infrastructure resources (road, sidewalk, and utility maintenance).

These properties demoralize communities; pose environmental, health, and safety hazards; and provide an attractive nuisance for illegal activities, including drug use. BAD Buildings slow local economic development by reducing available commercial and industrial properties as well as making a community much less attractive to entrepreneurs and developers.

By redeveloping brownfield, abandoned, vacant or dilapidated properties, you will:

  • Turn community health and safety liabilities into community assets;
  • Create new, local jobs;
  • Increase property values;
  • Eliminate eyesores;
  • Enhance economic/tax base development;
  • Support sustainable use of land, by preserving greenfields and preventing sprawl; and
  • Improve economic vitality while providing environmental benefits.

How do I reuse a brownfield, abandoned or dilapidated property?

Brownfields, abandoned and/or dilapidated properties can be redeveloped in many ways: old industrial buildings can be turned into new real estate, new building can occur on cleared sites, and community infrastructure and aesthetics can be improved by creating more greenspace.

For support on defining a reuse vision for a specific property, check out these resources.
For support on defining a vision for a larger community, check out these resources.

Who are the stakeholders

Through collaboration, interested parties, or stakeholders, are instrumental in cleaning up contaminated or abandoned properties and successful redevelopment. Stakeholders can be:

  • Local residents
  • Community groups and neighborhood associations
  • Private developers and consultants
  • Nonprofit organizations assisting in community development
  • State environmental agencies

Local government community and economic development departments.

How do I fund a brownfield or abandoned/dilapidated building project?

Many sources of funding are available for brownfield, abandoned and/or dilapidated projects. Several federal agencies like the US EPA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) award grants to help cleanup, assess, and redevelop brownfields. There are more than two dozen federal agencies that provide brownfield funding. The WV Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) facilitates property assessments. Private lenders and nonprofits like the Trust for Public Land help communities leverage funds to transform brownfields into beautiful public spaces.

We have provided a wealth of resources depending on your project type and specific needs. See funding resources.

How do I manage a problem property?

For support in managing a problem property, such as communicating with a property owner, see our managing a problem property resources page.

How do I mobilize my community to take action on abandoned/dilapidated buildings?

For support in mobilizing your community, such as developing leadership and community visioning, see our mobilize community resources page.

How do I prevent blight in my neighborhood?

Blight can be prevented through community action, municipal legal action (codes, ordinances, property registration, permit denials, criminal charges), and grants or loans to small homeowners. See our preventing blight resource page to learn more.

Who can initiate a BAD Buildings team?

Unit of local government; Non-profit organization; Government entity created by State Legislature; Redevelopment Agency that is chartered or otherwise sanctioned by the state. Communities that have an existing abandoned/dilapidated buildings program are encouraged to apply. The program is designed to offer technical support to communities at varying stages of local redevelopment and with differing levels of local capacity.

This site provides a wealth of resources that can be used by any community at all stages of project development.

For more information on the program, see this page.

When can a community start the BAD Buildings program?

Potential BAD Buildings communities are accepted at the first half of the year. However, this site provides resources that can be used by any community at all stages of project development.

For more information on the program, see this page.

For more information regarding brownfields or to learn about the WV Brownfields Assistance Centers, click here.