The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference Is in Town

You knew our city’s vacant real estate was a problem, but I bet you didn’t know it was a big enough problem to hold a whole multi-day conference about the issue here:

Put together by the Center for Community Progress, the conference is drawing upwards of 800 public and private sector experts in land banking, tax foreclosure, code enforcement and urban planning from around the country.

“Over the past two years, Philadelphia has taken several strategic and significant steps toward addressing its long-standing vacant property issues,” explained John Carpenter, Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and co-chair of the conference local planning committee in a press release. “The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference is our opportunity to share our successes with other cities while also learning from their achievements.”

Finally! Someone is going to save us from ourselves (right, Ori?), and they have a fancy organization name to go along with it. Of the meeting’s recommendations so far, the most promising is for Philly to set up a land bank, allowing the city to more economically institute development opportunities and complete daily paperwork.

That idea, the city likes:

“Mayor Nutter and Council are committed to adding a land bank to the tools for addressing our vacant property system,” said Rick Sauer, executive director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, in a press release. “The many Philadelphia advocates who support a land bank are excited to exchange ideas and strategies with their colleagues from across the country to make that goal a reality.”

Good thing too, being that the conference wraps up tomorrow. Our vacant lot problem, though, will likely continue. [FlyingKite]