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Huntington Among 5 Finalists to Receive Vacant Property Assistance

Huntington is among five finalists in a competition to receive one of up to three technical assistance scholarships from the Center for Community Progress, a national nonprofit that helps communities revitalize vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

The other finalists are Albany, New York; Las Vegas, Nevada; Memphis, Tennessee; and the Steel Rivers Council of Governments in Pennsylvania.

As finalists, the five communities will receive no-cost site visits from national experts, as well as assessments of their current activities and systems to address vacant and abandoned properties. Assessments may evaluate some of the following systems, tools, or practices: parcel data systems and data management practices; code enforcement programs and strategies; land banks; tax enforcement and foreclosure laws and practices; and vacant land reuse strategies. Assessments will take place between January and March 2017.

From this pool of five, up to three of the finalists will be chosen as recipients of a full scholarship through the Technical Assistance Scholarship Program. The full scholarship consists of up to 400 hours of deeply subsidized technical assistance over the course of nine months in 2017 to help recipient communities break new ground in their efforts to address property vacancy and abandonment.

“We are honored to be in the company of the four other finalists for the technical assistance scholarships from the Center for Community Progress,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “We have been innovative in addressing our vacant and abandoned properties, and we intend to set a standard that others will follow.“The Center for Community Progress is a leading advocate on addressing distressed properties and has been an active partner with the City of Huntington. We hope to have the opportunity to expand that relationship further.”

These five finalists were chosen through a competitive application process. Proposed projects are reviewed on a range of criteria, including the potential for innovation from which other cities can learn; demonstrated leadership to implement reform; overall scale of vacancy challenges; and need for outside assistance.

“The five finalist communities reflect a wide range of sizes, geographies, and challenges, but all have proven that they are firmly dedicated to strengthening their community stabilization and revitalization work,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “We look forward to working more closely with each through the site visits and assessments.”

The Center for Community Progress first launched the Technical Assistance Scholarship Program in 2014 in response to a need to make it easier for communities to experiment and innovate in their efforts to tackle vacant properties, and to do so in a way that is affordable and supports both the scholarship recipients and the national field of practice. Grant funding from JPMorgan Chase supports the program.

More information about the Technical Assistance Scholarship Program is available on the Center for Community Progress website, www.communityprogress.net.

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