Must See: Art Project Brings New Life Into Blighted Buildings

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breathing lights project

Breathing Lights, the name of the project, is the brainchild of artist Adam Frelin and architect Barb Nelson. Both were awarded with a $1 million grant to generate public art to address local issues. Smithsonian says that the “light” part of the project’s name is simple to understand – hundreds of buildings in the three cities will lit up from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thus, the “breathing” part is just as relevant.

“Warm light will fill each window with a diffuse glow that mimics the gentle rhythm of human breathing,” the artists posted on their website. This is used to describe what is lost when buildings become vacant and the cities’ ability to breathe new life back into abandoned urban areas. Read more here!

http://www.travelerstoday.com/articles/23494/20161006/art-project-brings-new-life-blighted-buildings.htm

Clarksburg Council Awards Bid for City Demolition Project

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Clarksburg City Council

A motion made during Thursday’s Clarksburg City Council meeting to award a project bid to Reclaim Co. of Fairmont will help rid the city of blighted properties. Six structures will be razed in the demolition and asbestos abatement project, all located within the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) district. The city received three bids for the project, which were opened Tuesday, and Reclaim Co. submitted the lowest bid at $89,998.

“This demolition property will continue our goal to eliminate a lot of the slum and blight,” City Manager Martin Howe said. “All of these structures that will be taken down, a majority of them have entered into agreements with the property owners to have them razed. For the overall improvement of the city, it’s a great program to continue.” Read more here!

http://www.theet.com/news/local/clarksburg-council-awards-bid-for-city-demolition-project/article_84c0e4c9-2b60-502e-9b08-a0ab4c0c72dd.html

County Focuses on Blighted Columbia Properties

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To the casual observer driving through Fluvanna’s historic yet shabby little river community of Columbia, it may not appear that much is being done to improve conditions there. Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols says just the opposite is true; progress is being made – it just can’t see be seen yet “We are just in the preliminary phases of the process,” Nichols said, referring to the county’s plans to use grant money from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase blighted properties in the flood zone and tear them down. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) has worked with the county to obtain the grant and is assisting with the administration of it. Read more here.

http://www.fluvannareview.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7486:county-focuses-on-blighted-columbia-properties&catid=77:government&Itemid=236

Inspiration: South Side youth transform blighted building with inspirational artwork in Milwaukee.

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Fifteen-year-old Daniela Dominguez, a sophomore at Carmen High School of Science and Technology’s South Campus, set a goal this year to help her community. So she joined the Safe and Sound Youth Council at her school, located at 1712 S. 32nd St.. The members first set their sights on a foreclosed nuisance property at 1931 S. 6th St., which had become a magnet for crime. They chose to utilize art to transform the long-neglected duplex into a neighborhood symbol of hope.

“We took something that looked really bad and attracted drug dealing and crime, and turned it into a positive message for the community,” Dominguez said. Read more here.

http://milwaukeenns.org/2016/05/27/south-side-youth-transform-blighted-building-with-inspirational-artwork/

Paducah, Kentucky Attracts Artists to Rehab Homes

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Artists from all over America started coming in 2000 to buy and restore homes in Lowertown, Paducah, Kentucky’s oldest — and most blighted – neighborhood. The neighborhood is now home to more than 70 artists, thanks to the city’s artist relocation program which was made possible with the help of a locally owned bank that willing to take a chance on this untested idea. Click here for the full story.

“Artists are the kind of folks who see what can be,” Barnett said. “They see potential, and we knew that was what it was going to take when they came in to see the neighborhood in its current condition.”

Missed it? Access the Webinar Recording: A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

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A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

Check out the webinar video here. It’s free. 

This highly visual 45-minute webinar presents research findings and proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide agencies or local governments towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. Participants will walk away with an understanding about how to leverage digital engagement to achieve unprecedented results using cost-effective tools.

This session features special guests from the City of Abbotsford, BC talking about Abbotsforward, one of the most innovative and successful Official Community Planning projects we’ve ever seen. They are online to talk about the innovative ways they combined online and targeted face to face community engagement to involve over 8,000 community members in the creation of a plan for Abbotsford, BC. They also share advice for agencies seeking to improve the breadth and effectiveness of their community engagement efforts and talk about the positive difference that broad community support is making in their implementation process.

Learning Outcomes

  • What to look for when selecting online engagement tools for planning projects,
  • How to design a fast and effective online experience,
  • How to collect meaningful public feedback that is directly usable in planning documents,
  • How to promote online participation,
  • How to leverage mobile, touchscreen kiosks and other technologies effectively, and
  • How to leverage social networking tools strategically.

Who Should View This

  • Planning project leaders & staff,
  • Public Information Officers, and
  • Outreach and engagement personnel.

Tiny Houses Built on Vacant Property Serve Homeless Veterans

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In Kansas City, MO, military veterans started a program to build tiny houses on vacant land for struggling and homeless veterans. They formed a nonprofit organization and acquired the property from the Kansas City Land Bank. To build and equip each house costs an estimated $10,000.

“The good news is veteran homelessness is declining thanks to programs like this one.”

Click here for the full story.

Window Decals to Spruce Up Downtown Vacant Properties

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The city of Durango, Colorado plans to distribute vinyl window decals for display on vacant properties downtown which will highlight historical images and dates, as well as aspects of skiing, mining, and Native American culture. This creative way to obscure renovation activity inside the buildings and brighten up blighted areas is one move toward neighborhood beautification. Click here for the full story.