City and Irondequoit get grants to combat zombie properties
by: Velvet Spicer
The City of Rochester and the Town of Irondequoit are two of 18 cities and towns statewide that will receive grants to address and transform zombie properties.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday announced the winners of the first phase of the Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement grant awards. The investment will total more than $10 million over the next two years.
The program aims to innovatively address and transform blighted, vacant or poorly maintained problem properties through the use of housing and community data from various state agencies. Cities RISE was launched in April as a strategy for helping New York families and communities rebuild from the housing crisis.
The funds will come from settlements made with large financial institutions that contributed to the collapse of the housing market, officials said.
“Too many New Yorkers are still struggling in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis. That’s why my office is investing the dollars we secured from the banks, to provide the tools necessary to rebuild and strengthen our neighborhoods,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Cities RISE presents a 21st century approach to overcoming this crisis and revitalizing New York’s communities.”
The 18 communities were chosen by national community development nonprofits Enterprise Community Partners and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. Each community will receive a two-year subscription to a data platform designed to integrate and analyze data such as code enforcement records, tax liens and fire and police data.
In addition, grantees will receive capacity building support from Spruce Technology and the program will be guided by a senior advisory team of issue area experts who specialize in community revitalization and engagement.
“The Building Blocks software will be a valuable tool in our ongoing efforts to make government more transparent,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said. “Using this software, individuals will be able to get detailed information about properties, particularly vacant properties, in the city. I am thankful to the attorney general for his advocacy on behalf of our citizens, which helps us in our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”