6th Annual Regional Equitable Development Summit
"Going Regional on Addressing Blighted and Abandoned Properties"
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland
A summary of the event will be posted shortly.
View the Executive Summary of the strategic report, "Blighted and Abandoned Properties Solutions Project."
View Full Report of "Blighted and Abandoned Properties Solutions Project."
Opening Remarks, Laura Zinski, Executive Director, Mon Valley Initiative
Keynote: John Kromer, Sr. Consultant at the Fels Institute, author of Fixing Broken Cities: The Implementation of Urban Development Strategies
Moderator: Irene McLaughlin
- Joanna Deming, Director of Outreach and Engagement, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
- Michael Kohlman, Director, Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau
- Mark Minnerly, Director of Real Estate at The Mosites Company
- Jacqueline Parker, Deputy Secretary, Community Affairs and Development, PA Department of Community and Economic Development
- Kendall Pelling, Project Manager, East Liberty Development Inc. and Co-chair Vacant Property Working Group
Call to Action: Bracken Burns, Commissioner, Washington County
The presence of blighted and abandoned properties are among Southwestern Pennsylvania's most pressing threats undermining sustainable communities and regional equitable development. Blight and abandonment is a tip of the iceberg issue that undermines and potentially exacts a downward spiral sentence on quality of life and prosperity across social, economic and environmental essentials for a sustainable community. Without mitigation, this problem will continue to grow and be a drain on the region’s resources. It undercuts the ability of the region's communities to maintain their footing as places of choice. There are real costs. As the Statewide Blight Task Force noted in 2008, “Blight is an “economic crime” costing taxpayers and municipalities millions of dollars annually in lost property tax revenues, sewer and water fees, and increased municipal expenditures.”
Addressing blight and abandonment offers the chance to build assets in a community. It is a win-win strategy that pays in stabilizing neighborhoods, increased revenue, job creation, increase in property values and lower crime. Given the regional nature of this issue, regional approaches are in order. However, at present, there exists no regional plan, decision-making table, nor coordinated regional effort to tackle the growing crisis of abandonment and blight in our communities.
This year's Summit will present findings on recommendations from recent work, specific to our region, on how regional capacity can be developed to address blight and abandonment. Practical strategies and cooperative efforts will be highlighted as ripe for deployment to the benefit of individual communities and the regional as a whole. The Summit will be a key milestone in developing new structures and well-substantiated plans for raising capacity around the region to attack blight and return properties to community benefit and often local tax rolls.
Keynote, John Kromer is Senior Consultant at the Fels Institute of Government and is the author of Fixing Broken Cities: The Implementation of Urban Development Strategies. He is a serving as strategic consultant to Sustainable Pittsburgh's Regional Blighted and Abandoned Properties Solutions Project.
- Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
- Sustainable Pittsburgh's Sustainable Community Development Network
- University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs: Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership
The Buhl Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
Richard King Mellon Foundation