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Uniting against blight

| Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Allegheny County is undergoing a renaissance. But one major issue is holding us back: blight.

Blight forces townships and boroughs to spend millions of dollars every year dealing with abandoned, tax-delinquent, dilapidated properties. It's money that can't be used to renew our communities. That's why I was so glad to see the news story “Mon Valley land bank efforts intensify” about a proposed land bank, which looks more and more like an effective tool to combat this problem.

Due to economic, political, legal and market forces, the process of returning blighted and abandoned properties to productive use is often slow, expensive and inconsistent. Instead of the current hodgepodge of hurdles and red tape, a land bank would be a one-stop shop for residents and businesses that want to partner with community members to improve our neighborhoods.

The Turtle Creek Valley, Steel Valley and Twin Rivers councils of governments are working together to an unprecedented degree because we think a land bank is a critical tool in the fight against blight.

The problem of blight isn't limited by municipal boundaries. The solution can't be, either.

Amanda Settelmaier

The writer is executive director of the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments (tcvcog.com).

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