Connect with Communities Facing Similar Challenges through the Redevelopment Expert Exchange

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Do you have a have a redevelopment success story to share with a fellow West Virginia community? Or, are you looking for a similar community to share lessons learned?

The Redevelopment Expert Exchange (RE2) facilitates redevelopment experience-sharing between West Virginia communities. The program matches redevelopment leaders from across the state with communities facing similar opportunities and challenges, allowing them to learn from the best practices and experiences of their peers across the state. RE2 is also offering a series of webinars throughout 2016 — we will keep you posted once they are announced.

Here are some example topics communities have exchanged:

  • Attracting developers
  • Engaging the media
  • Creating urban redevelopment authorities (URAs)
  • Establishing land reuse agencies
  • Structuring public-private partnerships


Read this success story about Wheeling’s successful Vacant Property Registration which they presented to Fairmont through an exchange facilitated by RE2.

re_2_logo_FINALTo learn more about how the WV Redevelopment Expert Exchange works or to request a match in your community, click here.


RE2 is a program of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

Webinar: Selling Your Story with Project Photography

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The West Virginia Redevelopment Expert Exchange is hosting a free webinar March 30 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on how to take and use effective photos to tell — and sell — your project story. Click here to register.

Imagery is the fundamental way we receive information. The human retina transmits info to the brain at the speed of your Ethernet connection. It’s easy to understand why a good photo is worth a thousand words. Project photography and proper data visualizations are fundamental in communicating project stories and technical data. Without them, your story may be lost in a sea of words with an audience of short attention spans.

Join the Redevelopment Expert Exchange and Professional Engineer and Professional Photographer Gabe DeWitt as we explore techniques for telling your project story through images, including composing and capturing project images in the field, post-processing, and presenting them in different media formats for optimized impacts.


What is Creative Placemaking?

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If you’re in the business of addressing dilapidated and abandoned buildings, you obviously care about and want to improve a place. Placemaking is both a philosophy and process that involves the planning, design, and management of public spaces. It capitalizes on a local community’s assets and potential to create public spaces that promote health, happiness, and well being.

Creative placemaking projects aim to deeply engage the arts, culture, and creativity — especially from underrepresented communities — so that the resulting communities better reflect and celebrate local culture, heritage and values.

The Project for Public Spaces offers resources and tips to find affordable and effective solutions to improve a place. They offer ideas tailored to governments, communities, and individuals for how you can take action to improve your public space.

Recently, Transportation For America also developed an interactive guide that includes eight basic approaches to creative placemaking to get you started. Each approach includes inspiring and concrete local examples and detailed resources. Scroll to the bottom to choose an approach.

Preservation Alliance Receives Feasibility Study Grant

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This week, the Preservation Alliance of WV received a $15,000 grant from the 1772 Foundation to conduct a revolving fund feasibility study.  The feasibility study is the first step in the process of developing a historic properties redevelopment program and will help to determine what kind of program will be most effective in West Virginia.

“We are thrilled at having this opportunity to start a fresh program in the Mountain State focusing on developing existing cultural assets and are very thankful for the 1772 Foundation’s grant to us,” explained Executive Director Danielle LaPresta Parker. Find the full story here.

Mountain State Land Use Academy – Register now!

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Registration is now open for the first annual statewide Mountain State Land Use Academy organized by the WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic. It will be held at the Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, W.V. May 3-4, 2016.

Discuss pressing land use issues in West Virginia with certified planners, legal experts and other local leaders. Topics will include floodplain management, wastewater, source water protection, economic development, neglected properties and more. Click here for more information and to register.

Home Rule Impacts Dilapidated Property Policies

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Several municipalities in West Virginia use home rule as a tool to expand their authority to address vacant and dilapidated properties. For instance, some proposed ordinances that allow city officials to give warnings and citations on-the-spot when they observe a nuisance or property code violation, and others created vacant property registries. To give you an idea of types of dilapidated property proposals enacted by W.Va. cities through home rule, the West Virginia Community Development Hub put together this handy list. Find detailed highlights of dilapidated building proposals in the WVU Land Use Clinic’s LEAP toolkit appendix G.

The Legislature is currently reviewing the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Project to determine whether it should be expanded or eliminated — read more here about the program’s impact and the implications of a currently proposed bill to alter the program.

Two Grant Opportunities Reward Creativity and Trails

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Check out these two grant opportunities to fund projects in your community!

ArtPlace is offering up to $500,000 through the National Creative Placemaking Fund for creative placemaking projects centered on arts and culture. For those communities with problem properties, public art projects offer a creative reuse option. Act now — the registration deadline is February 16. ArtPlace will be hosting a series of webinars to guide you through the application process.

The American Hiking Society is also offering up to $5,000 for eligible nonprofits with projects that improve hiking access or hiker safety on a particular trail through their National Trails Fund. The registration deadline is February 19. Click here for more information.

Visit our Funding Sources section to find more ideas for resources available for the type of project you are working on.

Liability to Viability: Legal Toolkit now available!

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From Liability to Viability: A Legal Toolkit to Address Neglected Properties in West Virginia is a new, exciting, and long-anticipated tool now available from the West Virginia University Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic. This toolkit presents currently available legal tools to help local governments in West Virginia convert dilapidated properties to productive use. Click here to access the toolkit online in addition to a free downloadable PDF.

Highlights from the toolkit include:

  • Building code, citations, liens for demolition, eminent domain, land banks and more
  • Vacant Property Registration
  • Negotiating with stakeholders
  • West Virginia community examples and usage
  • Advantages and disadvantages of each tool
  • Ways to fund each tool

If your community faces any issue related to abandoned or dilapidated properties, you should explore the WV LEAP toolkit. WV LEAP stands for West Virginia Legal Education to Address Abandoned/Neglected Properties, a program of the WVU Land Use Law Clinic.