Vacant Home Tour Changes Conversation around Vacancy

This article provides a more in-depth look at Wilkinsburg, PA’s innovative vacant property tour program. The program tells the story of several vacant homes and businesses, reminding visitors of the rich history of the neighborhood, and inviting participants to view properties as opportunities instead of liabilities. Click here to read the in-depth interview with the project proponents on what it took to pull it off.

Paducah, Kentucky Attracts Artists to Rehab Homes

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.”

Former Abandoned Factory Hosts Progressive Art Show

The Corbin Building in Westmoreland in Huntington, WV was a former garment factory which has transformed into a playground for the arts scene, now dubbed the West Edge Factory. Recently the site hosted the second Culture Storm art show with around 20 local artists setting up on the old wooden floor.

“It’s progressive, and that’s the best thing I can say about it for Huntington,” said Zac White, one of the three main organizers and a vendor himself. Click here for the full story and for more photos.

Homesteading Builds Momentum as a Way to Save Neighborhoods

Community homesteading programs encourage individuals and families to purchase, renovate, and reside in vacant and dilapidated homes by offering a financial incentive (e.g. loan, grant, tax break, or other monetary benefit). Potential benefits include:

  • Rehabilitation of vacant and dilapidated homes;
  • Rebuilding the tax base;
  • Economic diversification through sector development;
  • Substantial return on investment.

West Virginia delegates introduced a bill to create a homesteading pilot program during the 2016 legislative session. While the bill died, there’s a possibility it could be reintroduced next year, and interest is certainly building. This article highlights different examples of the forms a successful homesteading program can take from around the region. Click here for the full story.

Request for Proposals: FY 2017 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant

ANNOUNCING New Request for Proposals- FY 2017 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (BF AWP) Grant Guidelines
EPA is announcing the availability of funding to eligible entities who wish to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. This funding is for research and/or technical assistance activities directed to one or more brownfield site(s) located in a specific area (such as a neighborhood, downtown or business district, local commercial corridor, community waterfront or city blocks). Each project funded under this grant must result in an area-wide plan which includes specific plan implementation strategies for assessing, cleaning up, and reusing the brownfields site(s) as well as related brownfields and project area revitalization strategies. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 20 projects in total, funded at up to $200,000 each. The proposal submission deadline is August 10, 2016.

Please note that applicants who received a BF AWP grant from EPA in Fiscal Year 2010, 2013 or 2015 (FY10 or FY13 or FY 15) are generally not eligible to apply under this competition. EPA is making an exception for POWER+ (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) applicants. The POWER+ Initiative is an Administration priority that started in FY16 and continues through FY17. A POWER+ applicant must propose one or more eligible catalyst, high priority brownfield site(s) within the same brownfields project area as a coal-fired power plant that has recently closed (2008 or later) or is scheduled to close.

Link to BF AWP grant funding opportunity on www.grants.gov here.

Vacant Home Tours Showcase Property Potential

Wilkinsburg, PA, a community just outside Pittsburgh, is attempting to address blight by creating a tour of vacant homes to increase their appeal by explaining their history, suggesting potential reuses, and offering workshops about vacant property acquisition and property rehabilitation.

“We get a lot of complaints from residents…they want to know how they could go about acquiring the vacant home next door, or if it can be demolished, or what is available for people to deal with vacancy and blight in their neighborhood,” said Marlee Gallagher, co-coordinator of the tour.

Click here for the full story.

Missed it? Get the Webinar Recording – Funding for Blight Removal Through the AHP

In case you missed last Wednesday’s informative webinar on acquiring funding for blight removal through the Affordable Housing Program, you can find a recording of it and download slides at the Redevelopment Expert Exchange website (click here).

Learn How your Community Can Alleviate Blight while Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community. AHP Opens June 6 with Approximately $23 Million in Funding. The 2016 funding round of the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) will open on Monday, June 6, with approximately $23 million in available funding.

Laura Rye presented past successful projects and discussed key scoring and feasibility issues. 2016 AHP applications are due on Thursday, Aug. 11. The awarded projects will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 15. Early application planning will help your application be more competitive for funding.

redevelopment exchange

Nominations Open for 2016 West Virginia Brownfield Awards

Submit Your Nominations Now!

The West Virginia Brownfield Awards recognize the hard work and great achievements in brownfields redevelopment from across the state. These awards recognize individuals and communities who have made major contributions to the redevelopment of brownfields in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers are currently accepting nominations for the 2016 West Virginia Brownfield Awards.

Award categories:
Economic Development
Community Engagement
Environmental Impact
Local Leadership
Redevelopment Partner
Brownfields Visionary

Award nomination deadline is June 30.

Award recipients will be announced at the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference on September 7 in Charleston, WV.

For more information on the awards, contact wvredevelopment@mail.wvu.edu.

Click here for more information about the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference, to register, and to consider becoming a sponsor or exhibitor.

New Cumberland Eyesores To Be Redeveloped

New Cumberland, WV city officials recently presented a redevelopment plan that would impact the entire city. The plan included demolition of two buildings that have been vacant for more than 20 years. The buildings are located in the heart of the small downtown area, adjacent to the Graham/Staley Building, a key historic structure in the town’s most prominent intersection.

Community members recently participated in a visioning event where they brainstormed reuse plans on base maps of the area. Attendees decided to formalize as the River RATs (Redevelopment Action Team), and plan a follow-up meeting later in May.

“This is a combination of a lot of teamwork and hard work to start building a vision. We can start to dream tonight,” Mayor McNeil said.

Click here for the full story.