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.”

Peoria Art Students Use Blighted Buildings as Canvas

High school students in Peoria, IL are painting boards to cover windows and doors of homes slated for demolition later in the year. Like many communities in West Virginia, Peoria has its share of problem neighborhoods, and the boarded-up homes add to the impact of blight. This project serves to brighten up communities and also engages students with the city’s efforts.

“We hope that the artwork will add some community pride to the neighborhood.”

Click here for the full story. 

Upcoming Local WV Community Events: Thomas

Thomas Spring Clean-up and Trail Maintenance
Saturday, April 30th, 10 a.m. 

Join New Historic Thomas for some spring cleaning in Thomas! Meet at the lower lot of City Hall on Saturday, April 30th at 10 a.m. Groups will be organized to clean up trash, work on the Thomas Trails, and finish other Spring beautification activities around town. Please bring gloves, water, and sunscreen. Join us afterwards for a community lunch gathering.

Thomas Community Clean-Up Flyer

Developing Your Digital Gallery: Training in Digital Marketing and Social Media for Artist Entrepreneurs.
May 7th – 11a.m.-4 p.m.

Sponsored by the Mountain Arts District. Buxton & Landstreet Building in Thomas. $15

Mountain Arts District flyer

A Reason to Love Urban Green Space: It Fights Crime

A new body of evidence reflects how urban nature affects crime.

The field of research is still young, but recent studies found significant associations between green space maintenance and certain types of crime in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Youngstown, Ohio. The exact mechanism is not yet known, but one theory relates to Jane Jacobs’ notion of “eyes on the street”: well-kept lawns and community plots encourage more people to spend time outside in those spaces, leading to a greater degree of informal surveillance of the area and deterring crime.

This research gives cities reasons to reassess policies about cleaning and greening vacant lots, developing parks, or catching stormwater in green installations. Beyond the ecological and aesthetic benefits, these investments create a safer environment for the people who live nearby. Click here for the full story.

Huntington Native Pushes for Community Improvement

Architect and Huntington native Phoebe Patton Randolph wants to see improvements to her hometown. As a founding member of Create Huntington and the Huntington Mid-Range Housing Team, Randolph advocates for reinvestment in the city, including addressing the need for quality housing and diverse neighborhoods. She is positive about recent developments, such as the city’s new vacant property registry.

“The housing market is not bad,” she said. “Houses are selling. What we are trying to do is raise the quality of the properties bought and sold, and still have it be affordable and accessible for people.”

Click here for the full story. 

Have You Explored Our Tools Section Lately?

Need to contact a property owner about a problem property and not sure where to start? Looking to demolish or deconstruction a property? What about starting a beautification program? Browse the many tools on this website based on your project type, including:

  • Mobilize community and develop inventory
  • Reuse a property
  • Prevent blight
  • Develop a beautification program
  • Analyze maps and data
  • Build your partnership network

Or, click here to find a full list of the tools offered through wvbadbuildings.org.

What is Creative Placemaking?

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.

Ready to Make a Difference in Your Town? Join Hubapalooza 2016!

Hubapalooza offers an opportunity to network and swap success stories with other West Virginia communities. This year, the conference will be held on Thursday, April 28 in Summersville, WV.

Revitalized downtowns.
New and energetic local leadership.
Creative approaches to fighting blight.
Fun and free physical fitness initiatives.
Art, music and cultural events.
Crowdfunded local businesses.

Click here to register.