ROCKFORD, Illinois (WIFR) – Rockford is one of 12 cities in four states selected to send a delegation to the 2022 Vacant Property Leadership Institute.
The institute is a training program that aims to provide leaders with the skills to address vacant, abandoned, and derelict properties for the benefit of their communities.
Delegations from each of the following cities will attend: College Park, GA; Perry, GA; South Fulton, GA; Chicago, Illinois; Decatur, IL; Kankakee, IL; Peoria, IL; Rockford, IL; Louisville, KY; Winchester, Kentucky; Milwaukee, WI; Racine, WI. The cities were selected in a competitive, two-stage application process.
The Rockford City delegation is selected from its interdepartmental team that handles vacant properties through real estate and neighborhood standards, neighborhood and economic development, and legal departments.
“The City of Rockford has been aggressively addressing vacant lots to help reduce rot and help improve the neighborhood,” said Mayor Tom McNamara. “We have developed strategies that hold landowners accountable, as well as increased redevelopment opportunities like Northern Illinois Land Bank. I assume that participating in the VPLI will help us to add innovative approaches to address the particular challenges of the problem properties. “
The cities selected include rural, suburban, and urban communities and range from just over 14,000 to over 2.7 million residents. You will also face similar challenges such as flawed mortgage foreclosure processes, tax losses, ineffective property management systems, and other real estate issues. Rockford was selected for VPLI because it demonstrates strong leadership, dedication to developing new solutions, and represents a unique opportunity to relocate the systems responsible for empty, abandoned and other problem real estate.
VPLI sessions will look at how fair development practices can be operationalized to fix vacancies, shutdowns, and decay, and get buildings and land back to productive use. Strategies to investigate include data and market analysis, reforms to tax penalties, enforcement of strategic laws, land banking, and more.
The Vacant Property Leadership Institute combines helping communities through Community Progress to develop efficient, effective, and equitable solutions to vacancy and abandonment with the NLC, which serves the interests of 19,000 cities and towns in the United States, to empower communities by expanding the capacity, Provision of in-depth research and tools as well as the development and implementation of on-site solutions.
“NLC is proud to partner with the Center for Community Progress to help twelve cities develop equitable neighborhood development strategies,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities. “The Vacant Property Leadership Institute will provide a unique opportunity for participating cities to learn sustainable strategies that are racially equitable and help eradicate inequalities within local infrastructure.”
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