October 31, 2014

Distressed Properties and a City’s Response

Vacant, abandoned, and distressed properties are a persistent problem in New York State’s most financially distressed regions. Thousands of properties currently sit empty throughout the state. The City of Newburgh, New York, provides a case study of the level of distress local governments are tackling, while serving as a beacon of hope for other municipalities. Despite a struggling economy, the strained fiscal condition of the city, and continuing bad news from the streets of Newburgh, several key opportunities to remediate distressed properties exist that will set the stage for future revitalization of the city’s physical and social fabric. There is a clear and persistent connection between the condition of the city’s vacant and abandoned properties and increased crime, declining property values, and the city’s limited tax base. Further, there is a sense of urgency among citizens and city leaders to embrace a new strategy for remediating distressed properties as the first step in revitalizing the city’s historic neighborhoods and overall economy.

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