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Tackling Vacancy: St. Louis Land Bank Assessment
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, February 24, 2017 - With the oldest land bank in America, the City of St. Louis has been exploring new ways to reduce the inventory in its land bank, which is operated by the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). Properties come into LRA ownership as a matter of last resort after private owners abandon them and fail to pay taxes for five years. What's left behind is often in shambles, leaving blight for neighbors and the City to deal with.

In a release, Mayor Francis Slay said "More than 100 other land banks have been established based on the very first one created here in the City of St. Louis. We are certain that we can learn new insights and tools from the more current iterations across the country to enhance the way LRA operates and to make the City more sustainable."

The St. Louis Land Bank Assessment, performed by Asakura Robinson, sought to identify opportunities for the LRA to improve existing processes and adopt new policies and programs to address vacancy and abandonment in St. Louis.

The Assessment lists six key categories of recommendations, focused on defining a forward-looking LRA mission and vision; formalizing policies and procedures; managing vacant properties from the time they become vacant until they are sold to a new owner by the LRA; fostering clear communication and transparency to build trust in the community; growing the LRA's staffing and financial resources; and building and solidifying partnerships with other public agencies.

The report also includes an Action Plan to help show how the recommendations should move forward and be prioritized over the next five years.

"We offer up actionable recommendations within each of the categories to help LRA move these ideas off paper and into practice," said Alexandra Miller, Principal, Asakura Robinson. "They include steps like building a new LRA website that includes an interactive property map, developing a maintenance plan that documents current resources and defines long-term targets that could be reached with new resources, and creating seminars that can help community groups, realtors, and others participate in transforming vacant properties."

"Having these tools is a tangible result of our work in partnership with SC2," said Patrick Brown, Chief Resilience Officer. "Tackling vacancy and abandonment by putting these properties back to productive reuse, which in turn, saves taxpayers money, will enhance the resilience of our neighborhoods. I look forward to continuing this work through our 100 Resilient Cities initiative."

Residents also are encouraged to report vacancy conditions, especially if a building needs to be securely boarded, to the Citizens' Service Bureau by calling (314) 622-4800 or tweeting @stlcsb.

Economic Development Course Series Starts March 1
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, February 20, 2017 - Bi-State Development is now partnering with the Urban Land Institute-St. Louis and the UMSL Public Policy Administration Program to offer a Chancellor's Certificate Program in the Fundamentals of Economic Development.

Registration is now open for the non-credit, eight-week program which begins on March 1. Local government officials and employees, as well as economic development specialists from the private and nonprofit sectors and others, will be able to learn introductory economic development concepts from senior practitioners in the industry. Participants will learn how to develop and implement economic development plans and projects, and will be introduced to the tools to attract and support development opportunities.

The certificate program consists of eight, three-hour modules scheduled for Wednesday evenings between March 1 and May 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at CIC@CET located at 20 South Sarah Street in the Cortex Innovation Community in midtown St. Louis. Participants can register for the entire series of courses or for individual modules. The Chancellor's Certificate is earned by completing at least six of the eight modules.

Regional economic development leaders who represent both public and private sector perspectives from Missouri and Illinois teach the courses. Bi-State Development President and Chief Executive Officer John Nations, Vice President of Economic Development John Langa, and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Julianne Stone, will be among those serving as instructors, panelists and facilitators for the program. To register or to find out more about course costs, schedule and module descriptions, visit

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Archived St. Louis Community News and Information:
 City Secures $1 Million Federal Grant to Rapidly Re-house People Experiencing Homelessness
 Grand Opening Planned for Trojan Park
 City of St. Louis Launches Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
 Mayor Slay Launches St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway at Bellerive Park
 "Adinkra Tower" Sculpture Dedicated on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday

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