Blight http://wesa.fm en Local Group Reclaims Vacant Land Through Micro-Grants and Education http://wesa.fm/post/local-group-reclaims-vacant-land-through-micro-grants-and-education <p>Six months ago, the vacant lot next door to Linda Piso’s house in Knoxville was overgrown with weeds and was a haven for drug activity.</p><p>But Piso has since transformed the lot into a community garden.</p><p>“Right now I’m picking cucumbers,” Piso said on Saturday. “My garden is completely planted. I have lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and soon I’ll have a watermelon.”</p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Liz Reid 32536 at http://wesa.fm Bill Would Give Counties More Help With Blight http://wesa.fm/post/bill-would-give-counties-more-help-blight <p><em style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; font-style: italic; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bot Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:14:54 +0000 Jess Lasky 32177 at http://wesa.fm Tackling Pittsburgh’s Blight Problem, One Small Project at a Time http://wesa.fm/post/tackling-pittsburgh-s-blight-problem-one-small-project-time <p><a href="http://wesa.fm/post/how-neighborhoods-are-using-new-tools-fight-against-old-blight">Blight is a major problem</a> in Pittsburgh, and the city is pursuing several big-picture initiatives to deal with it.</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:19:32 +0000 Liz Reid 32195 at http://wesa.fm Tackling Pittsburgh’s Blight Problem, One Small Project at a Time Community Design for Changing Demographics http://wesa.fm/post/community-design-changing-demographics <blockquote><p><em><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“If a city were a human body, then blight is a disease.”</span></strong></em></p></blockquote><p>Like many other older industrial cities, the Pittsburgh region has its share of blight. According to the most recent data from the 2010 census, there are more than 50 thousand vacant houses in Allegheny County. For more than a century, federal, state and city governments have tried to address the issue.</p><p><a href="http://wesa.fm/post/how-neighborhoods-are-using-new-tools-fight-against-old-blight?nopop=1">90.5 WESA’s Larkin Paige-Jacobs recently reported</a>&nbsp;on a new generation of tools is being used to try and clean up blighted neighborhoods.</p><p>Key to this fight is Land Bank legislation which Mayor Bill Peduto<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;urged city council to pass&nbsp;in order to expedite the claiming of blighted and abandoned property.</span></p><blockquote><p style="margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><em><strong>"The land bank allows the city to quickly acquire and bundle tax delinquent properties to sell to home developers, rather than the piecemeal and time-consuming approach neighborhood development corporations had taken."&nbsp;</strong></em></p></blockquote><p><em><strong>Beyond Blight...</strong></em></p><p>In our quest to battle blight, how can neighborhood improvements accommodate the current residents and the next generation? How can we revitalize in a way that's adaptive to changing demographics? The&nbsp;<a href="http://designcenterpgh.org/" style="color: rgb(1, 143, 226); text-decoration: underline;">Design Center</a>&nbsp;helps local neighborhoods create community driven development plans.</p><p>We talked about this with Chris Koch, interim CEO of the <a href="http://designcenterpgh.org/">Design Center</a>, along with project consultants <a href="http://www.pfaffmann.com/">Rob Pfaffmann</a>, an architect and designer, and Todd Poole, Managing principal and president of <a href="http://www.landuseimpacts.com/">4Ward Planning</a>.</p><p>Chris Koch explained how the Design Center balances the developer’s desire for a return on their investment while not driving people out of their communities.</p><p>“We want developers in our communities, but there’s anxiety that comes with development. How do we help the communities navigate that? Everything has to be a compromise. When its developer driven, the community doesn't get to be part of the conversation. So it’s finding a way for both groups to come to the table and work with our designers in the city of Pittsburgh to find solutions that work for everybody.”</p><p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:21:29 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 30310 at http://wesa.fm Community Design for Changing Demographics How Neighborhoods Are Using New Tools In The Fight Against Old Blight http://wesa.fm/post/how-neighborhoods-are-using-new-tools-fight-against-old-blight <p>Like many older industrial cities, the Pittsburgh region has its share of blight. According to the most recent data from the 2010 census, there are more than 50,000 vacant houses in Allegheny County.</p><p>For more than a century, federal, state and city governments have tried to address the issue. Today, a new generation of tools is being used in attempts to clean up blighted neighborhoods.</p> Fri, 30 May 2014 10:55:01 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 30057 at http://wesa.fm How Neighborhoods Are Using New Tools In The Fight Against Old Blight Land Bank Legislation Passes in Pittsburgh City Council http://wesa.fm/post/land-bank-legislation-passes-pittsburgh-city-council <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">After three months of community meetings, <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/concerns-about-land-bank-legislation-aired-city-council">disagreements</a>, and <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/city-councilors-oconnor-and-gross-lay-out-pittsburghs-new-land-bank-plan">compromises</a>, Pittsburgh City Council passed Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation Monday morning.</span></p><p>Councilmen Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle have had the greatest concerns about the land bank proposal, but both voted in favor of the legislation.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:50:51 +0000 Liz Reid 27555 at http://wesa.fm Land Bank Legislation Passes in Pittsburgh City Council City Councilors O'Connor and Gross Lay Out Pittsburgh's New Land Bank Plan http://wesa.fm/post/city-councilors-oconnor-and-gross-lay-out-pittsburghs-new-land-bank-plan <p>Earlier this year <a href="http://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2014/01/14/gross-introduces-land-bank-legislation">District 7 Councilor Deb Gross </a>introduced legislation to <a href="http://pittsburghpa.gov/landbanking/amendments">develop a Land Bank in Pittsburgh</a>. The system would operate as a repository for <a href="http://www.pcrg.org/programs/vacant-property-working-group-vpwg/">properties that often have little prospect of redevelopment.</a></p><p>District 5 Councilor Corey O' Connor is a supporter of the concept. He and Councilor Gross say the idea is to create a system to get abandoned properties publicly inventoried and marketed for re-use by neighbors, community groups, developers or realtors. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 21:11:59 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 26646 at http://wesa.fm City Councilors O'Connor and Gross Lay Out Pittsburgh's New Land Bank Plan Local Real Estate Investor Proposes Solution to Urban Blight http://wesa.fm/post/local-real-estate-investor-proposes-solution-urban-blight <p>Around 200 people spoke at last week’s public hearing on Councilwoman Deb Gross’s <a href="https://pittsburgh.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1633008&amp;GUID=9721208C-F9C4-4A51-8D05-11F1D342A714&amp;Options=ID|Text|&amp;Search=land+bank">land bank legislation</a>, according to Gross’s chief of staff Nathaniel Hansen.</p><p>At least one of those people, Josh Caldwell of the <a href="http://pittsburghreia.com/">Pittsburgh Real Estate Investors Association</a>, has gone public with his proposal for fighting urban blight.</p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 21:59:18 +0000 Liz Reid 25053 at http://wesa.fm Concerns About Land Bank Legislation Aired in City Council http://wesa.fm/post/concerns-about-land-bank-legislation-aired-city-council <p>Pittsburgh City Council had their first opportunity to discuss Deb Gross’s <a href="http://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2014/01/14/gross-introduces-land-bank-legislation">proposed land bank legislation</a> as a group on Wednesday. The bill was first introduced on Jan. 14.</p> Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:47:22 +0000 Liz Reid 23193 at http://wesa.fm Walking Tour of Garfield Highlights Struggles, Opportunities http://wesa.fm/post/walking-tour-garfield-highlights-struggles-opportunities <p>The newly-formed Garfield chapter of Action United led state and local government representatives on a walking tour Thursday of the neighborhood that, like others in Pittsburgh, is struggling with the effects of blight.</p><p>&ldquo;Safety, roads, sidewalks, things for the kids to do,&rdquo; said Marquise Williams, chapter president, &ldquo;I feel like if kids had more to do a lot of the crime and a lot of the stuff would decline because there&rsquo;s more activities for the kids to do.&rdquo;</p> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:41:40 +0000 Deanna Garcia 17585 at http://wesa.fm Walking Tour of Garfield Highlights Struggles, Opportunities Report: Blighted Properties Costing Allegheny County Millions of Dollars Each Year http://wesa.fm/post/report-blighted-properties-costing-allegheny-county-millions-dollars-each-year <p>Blighted properties not only are an eyesore for neighborhoods and communities, but also they cost homeowners and local governments millions of dollars, according to a new report from Delta Development Group Inc.</p><p>&ldquo;The annual impact of these problem properties for our 41 communities is actually over $254 million a year, which is enormous,&rdquo; said An Lewis, executive director of the Steel Valley Council of Governments, one of the groups that commissioned the report.</p> Wed, 02 Oct 2013 17:51:58 +0000 Deanna Garcia 17463 at http://wesa.fm Burgess: Blight in Homewood Could Spread http://wesa.fm/post/burgess-blight-homewood-could-spread <p>More than 40 percent of land parcels and 30 percent of houses in Homewood are vacant. That’s according to research from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Urban and Social Research.<br><br>A town hall meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday in Homewood at the Carnegie Library to address the issue of blight, demolition of housing and land banking in that neighborhood. Pittsburgh Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess is hosting the forum, and he said there has been talk for years about addressing the problem of vacant and abandoned properties, but there’s been little action.<br> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 11876 at http://wesa.fm Allegheny County Seeks to Fight Blight with Recovery Program http://wesa.fm/post/allegheny-county-seeks-fight-blight-recovery-program <p>Allegheny County is hoping to fight blight by offering as much as a $3,000 discount to anyone looking to take ownership and improve abandon properties.</p><p>The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program usually charges individuals or entities that want to acquire the properties the assessed value of the parcel plus about $3,000 in fees. Between now and July 15 the county will waive between $1,600 and all of the fees.</p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 18:32:47 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 10687 at http://wesa.fm