By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Blighted, vacant properties have created huge problems in Philadelphia. And our city is not alone.READ MORE: Mother Of Cheltenham Township Single-Car Crash Victim Speaks Out After Incident Left 1 Person Dead, 4 Others Injured: ‘It's Horrible’
Planners and activists from around the country are gathering this week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a national “Reclaiming Vacant Property” conference.
When two Philadelphia firefighters died last year in a blaze at the Buck Hosiery building (see related story), the city’s attention was focused on the dangers of vacant, unsecured buildings held by absentee, tax-delinquent landlords.
A year and a half later, the lot sits empty, and the owner is the same.READ MORE: Cooling Tower Malfunction Caused Fire At Center City High-Rise, Source Says
“That is, unfortunately, a pretty common (occurrence),” says Michael Brady of the Center for Community Progress, the conference sponsor.
And Brady says that’s exactly the sort of problem the conference wants to address: “bringing people to share the common challenges and then thinking about what’s working in one community, maybe it could work in another.”
One idea that Philadelphia government and community leaders are embracing is a so-called “land bank.” Legislation in City Council would create one, allowing quicker transfer of properties like the Buck factory.MORE NEWS: Amtrak Forced To Reduce Service Along Northeast Corridor Due To COVID-Related Staffing Shortage