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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Public Meeting on Vacant Properties

October 29, 2009 - Two nationally known experts in the field of vacant and blighted properties, Dan Kildee and Amy Hovey of the Genesee Institute, will be in Knoxville next week to meet with citizens and city and county staff to discuss “best practices” across the country for effectively confronting the negative impacts of vacant and abandoned buildings and lots.

A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 5, at the Cansler YMCA, 616 Jessamine Street at East Fifth Avenue.

Their visit to Knoxville is part of a joint city-county-neighborhood effort to identify the scope of vacant, blighted properties in the city and county, and to consider strategies to reduce the number of such properties, thereby improving neighborhoods and commercial districts, as well as stabilizing property values.

“Abandoned properties pose significant fire and safety hazards, lower nearby property values, attract vandalism and criminal activity, and generate increased demands for government services such as codes enforcement, police, and fire,” said Madeline Rogero, director of the City’s Community Development Department. “Dan and Amy have worked with cities and counties across the country to develop strategies that work.”

The joint effort includes the community development, codes enforcement, and law departments of both the city and county; County Trustee Fred Sisk and the city tax office; the Knox County Health Dept., the Council of Involved Neighborhoods (COIN); Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC); the Metropolitan Planning Commission; and The Development Corporation.

“Abandoned property is a burden on neighborhoods and local government,” says Grant Rosenberg, director of Knox County Neighborhoods and Community Development Department. “We look forward to this joint effort reviewing our current programs and policies and studying best practices across the country in order to develop more effective local strategies.”

Daniel T. Kildee — the treasurer of Genesee County, Michigan, since 1997 — initiated the use of Michigan’s new tax foreclosure law as a tool for community development and neighborhood stabilization. He founded the Genesee Land Bank, Michigan’s first land bank, and serves as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In addition, Kildee is president of the Genesee Institute, a research and training institute focusing on “smart growth,” urban land reform, and land banking.

Amy Hovey, founder of The Protogenia Group LLC, assisted in the creation of the Genesee County Land Bank Authority and has worked with local community development corporations, government agencies, and businesses to help revitalize urban neighborhoods. She is a former program director with the Michigan State office of the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC).

For Immediate Release
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