Inspired by the success of dozens of cities, towns and states across the nation in preventing and addressing vacant and abandoned properties, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) is heading to Boston to participate in a unique forum where she hopes to learn from experts and develop her own effective strategies.

“As we drive down blocks all across our state there are too many properties that seem to have been vacant for far too long,” Sen. Collins said. “Increasing property values is one of the best ways to stabilize and strengthen our economy. If abandoned property becomes less prevalent in our state homeowners and business owners will have a reason to invest confidently in Illinois.”

From March 13-16, Sen. Collins will attend the second Community Progress Leadership Institute with leaders from ten communities in Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Michigan. Held at the Harvard Law School, the Leadership Institute is offered and led by the Center for Community Progress, the nation’s preeminent organization working with communities and government to forge strategies that prevent vacancy and abandonment. Participants are chosen based not only on their interest but on the capacity of their organizational diversity and alliances to apply what they learn at the Leadership Institute.

“These participants have been chosen for the tremendous confidence we have in their ability to champion effective, efficient systems that foster strong communities,” said Amy Hovey, Chief Operating Office at Community Progress. “By launching our reform efforts at this kind of scale, we address the problem with a systemic approach that our experience has shown can make a real difference. We can’t afford to wait for things to happen in one city at a time.”

Community Progress President Dan Kildee, a former Genesee County, Michigan, treasurer who pioneered one of the nation’s first land banks, will lead the group through an intensive curriculum that includes key techniques for prevention, control and adaptive reuse of vacant buildings and land, including tax and foreclosure reform, the land bank concept and code enforcement.

 

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