Reuse a property

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Addressing an abandoned, vacant or dilapidated property will help improve your neighborhood’s safety and economic viability. A building or site 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.

Here you will find resources to address specific sites, develop a vision for the property, and connect with developers.

Develop a vision for the property

It is important to have a vision for reuse of the property that includes a strategy beyond demolition. Remember to invite key stakeholders to the discussion. For suggestions on who to include, refer to the Stakeholders tool below.

visioningVisioning questions worksheet [click to download]
This tool offers questions to consider as you develop a community vision.


Stakeholder Engagement Matrix [click to download]
An effective local effort includes all stakeholders throughout each step of the process to eliminate blight in a community. Here are suggestions on organizations or community members to include.

For broader community visioning, see Mobilizing my community to action.

For support on economic growth in your community,

For more suggestions on community visioning or leadership, refer to the WV Hub which helps to identify leaders and assets; develop plans and set goals; and connect with a wide network of resources to meet those goals.

Address a specific property

BAD Building Survey Sheet [click to download]
This document will help you to chart an overview list of vacant and dilapidated properties in your community and includes a checklist for what conditions to look out for.


decision enhancer
Decision Enhancer Tool and Handbook [click to download]
This tool will help you facilitate the redevelopment of underutilized/abandoned properties and to consider land reuse options and future uses for complex sites that are economically and environmentally sustainable. Click here to download the handbook which explains in detail how to use the D.E. Tool.

For support on taking an inventory and prioritizing buildings in your community, refer to the BAD Buildings Model.

How to plan, design and finance a rural community facility


Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit [click to download]
This guide contains practices for planning, designing, and financing rural community facilities that can be used by nonprofits and public entities. It is the product of a collaboration between the Council of Development Finance Agencies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Is your site viable for reuse as wind or solar energy generation?

electronicdecisiontreeRE-Powering Electronic Decision Tree tool [click to download factsheet]
EPA encourages renewable energy on already developed or degraded land instead of green space. Their RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative has developed the RE-Powering Electronic Decision Tree tool to guide interested parties through a process to screen sites for their suitability for solar photovoltaics or wind installations. It’s a computer application that will help you determine whether a site has potential barriers to a solar or wind project.

It addresses the following types of sites:

  • Potentially Contaminated Sites (Superfund, Brownfield, RCRA, mine site)
  • Landfill (Municipal Solid Waste, Construction and Demolition or similar unit)
  • Underutilized (Abandoned parcels, parking lots)
  • Rooftop (Solar PV only; Commercial / Industrial roofs)

Click here to learn more about the tool and how to download the computer application, and click here to download a one-page factsheet.

Create a redevelopment plan

Before addressing a specific property, you might want to review the condition of your community as a whole. Go to the Mobilize community & develop inventory section for tools to get you started.

redevelopmentplanRedevelopment Plan template
Once you have created an inventory of the blighted buildings in your community, this document will guide you to assess your abandoned/dilapidated building survey, collect relevant information such as local ordinances and plans, and create a framework for the next steps to revitalizing your community. It should be used in conjunction with the tools offered in the Mobilize community & develop inventory section. You can directly edit the document above. To download a pdf version instead, click here.

Create a land bank

A land bank is a public authority created to efficiently hold, manage and develop tax-foreclosed property. West Virginia recently passed the SB579 Land Banks bill, however the creation of an Urban Renewal Authority (URA) is a more effective route.

Huntington, West Virginia set up a land bank through their Urban Renewal Authority. Visit their website to learn more. We also profiled their experience in a success story here.

For more more information about land banks, check out the WVU Land Use Clinic’s LEAP Toolkit and also this FAQ from the Center for Community Progress.