Detroit Vacant Lots Become Stormwater Gardens

Four vacant lots on Detroit’s west side have been given new life as stormwater retention gardens, each capable of corralling up to 300,000 gallons of water below ground per year while creating a beautiful common space for neighbors up above.

Initiated by an interdisciplinary team of University of Michigan students, the project represents a few significant firsts: the first green stormwater infrastructure project to receive investment from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD); the first time that department and the Detroit Land Bank Authority have collaborated. And with their massive capacity and appealing design, the stakeholders are also hoping to prove just how much green infrastructure can do. Click here for the full story.

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.”

Tiny Houses Built on Vacant Property Serve Homeless Veterans

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.

Who wants to be mayor of Richwood? Everybody.

In total, 10 men are vying to be mayor of Richwood, a 2,000-person city in Nicholas County, which, like so many other West Virginia communities, is struggling with a declining population, major industries that peaked decades ago, and a deserted downtown.

This article highlights the type of challenges many small towns in West Virginia face when dealing with blight and abandoned buildings. Click here for the full story.

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. 

Webinar: Funding Blight Removal through Affordable Housing Program

Join the WV Redevelopment Collaborative for the May Redevelopment Expert Exchange Webinar to learn how Affordable Housing funding can be used to fight blight in your community!

Click here to register.

Date: Wednesday, May 18
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

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 will present past successful projects and discuss 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