Artists Bring Slow, Neighborly Approach to Tackling Blight

Artists in Baltimore (Oct 24)

Tensions may still simmer where neighborhood revitalization and artists and the arts intersect, but when it comes to blight, block by block, creativity is often a good business proposition. Artists as a proven driver of property values were on display in a conversation between two very different ventures at a recent conference in Baltimore. The first of those organizations didn’t start out devoted to the arts, but to Orange, New Jersey. Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, known as Hands, has been rehabilitating and redeveloping properties in Orange since 1986. In the two decades prior, Orange had first been gutted by an interstate project and then bled dry by the closure of the Rheingold brewery, which led to the loss of 700 jobs. One in 10 houses was vacant, over 400 overall. Read more here!

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/artists-gentrification-blight-vacancies-indianapolis

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. 

BAD Buildings on Camera: Fairmont’s 4-Part Video Series

WVBOY in Fairmont, WV recently filmed a four-part video and article series featuring the city’s efforts to address abandoned and dilapidated buildings. The series features perspectives from the volunteer BAD Buildings team, private owners, private developers, deconstruction contractors, and local banks, who each offers solutions to remove blight from their streets. A volunteer-led survey of the city’s 9 square miles by the BAD Buildings team yielded an inventory of over 300 abandoned or dilapidated buildings, and the group is now focused on prioritizing 70 structures in a target neighborhood. Click on the images below to view each video in the series.

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Property Rescue Workshop in Buckhannon this Friday!

The Property Rescue Initiative (PRI) is a program of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) that provides $1 million in loan funding for communities to remove or rehabilitate dilapidated buildings.

This Friday, April 1, Buckhannon will host the final installment of a series of PRI workshops in 2016 that will help interested parties access PRI funding and provide technical assistance for locals to address abandoned buildings in their communities. Register now as space is limited.

Anyone interested in accessing a portion of the PRI funding pool to address dilapidated buildings in their community is encouraged to attend.

The full day workshop will feature guest speakers, interactive sessions on stakeholder engagement and the BAD Buildings process, and a panel of experts who will discuss creative ways to repay loans and reuse problem properties. Registration is $15.

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.

Connect with Communities Facing Similar Challenges through the Redevelopment Expert Exchange

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.

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.

Property Rescue Workshop in Beckley this Friday!

The Property Rescue Initiative (PRI) is a program of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) that provides $1 million in loan funding for communities to remove or rehabilitate dilapidated buildings.

This Friday, March 18, Beckley will host the fourth in a series of PRI workshops in 2016 that will help interested parties access PRI funding and provide technical assistance for locals to address abandoned buildings in their communities. Register now as space is limited.

Anyone interested in accessing a portion of the PRI funding pool to address dilapidated buildings in their community is encouraged to attend.

The full day workshop will feature guest speakers, interactive sessions on stakeholder engagement and the BAD Buildings process, and a panel of experts who will discuss creative ways to repay loans and reuse problem properties. Registration is $15.

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.