Vacant Lots

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2018 capital budget proposal does not include any funding for maintenance of the 1,400 vacant lots and 50 vacant structures owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

David Clarke pulls up the newly launched website from Pittsburgh’s Department of Finance and points out all the different ways residents can search for properties.

“You can either enter a parcel number or a street you’re interested in,” said Clarke, business intelligence manager for the city’s finance department. “Or we just have featured properties up here that we think people would be particularly interested in.”

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

On a breezy Wednesday morning, a tour group of gardeners and members of Pittsburgh's nonprofit community visited all the green spaces the neighborhood of Homewood had to offer. They saw the personal gardens of resident Amir Rashad, walked through shared plots and the garden manned by Operation Better Block.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For decades, contractors demolishing old buildings in Pittsburgh knocked them through the sub-flooring and filled in the holes with whatever was left behind. Debris, support walls, bricks and even appliances -- all topped off with dirt.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools has released a request for proposals for the sale and development of nine vacant school buildings and 13 parcels of land. Sale of just the buildings could bring nearly $5 million to the school district's coffers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The City of Pittsburgh has roughly 13,000 city-owned vacant lots available for purchase. But how to start the process of buying that property can be complicated. Here’s a simple, step-by-step look at how to buy one. (You can also scroll down to the flow-chart below.)

 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 


To the left of her fridge, Zinna Scott can peer out her kitchen window on Rosewood Avenue in Homewood and see the two open, grassy lots where her neighbors once lived. It’s where she wants to build her dream house.

Is Pittsburgh’s Land Bank Operational? City Says Yes. Residents Disagree.

Sep 15, 2016
Natasha Khan / PublicSource

  Six Garfield residents pore over neighborhood maps inside a cramped office. They’re debating what properties and lots they could claim to expand a community park.

They are members of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation [BGC], and the properties they want to acquire are either tax-delinquent or vacant lots surrounding Fort Pitt Playground.

With an expanded “Garfield Park,” the community can reclaim forgotten homes and lots and put them to productive use, all while returning them to the tax roll.

Jared Brey / PlanPhilly

There are some neighborhoods in Pennsylvania cities where half of the properties are blighted or tax-delinquent or both. Between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, there are about 60,000 such properties. But getting them into the hands of new owners who can make them useful for the neighborhood again has been difficult. Enter a 2012 state law that allows cities to quickly acquire properties, eliminate back taxes and get them to new owners. But in reality, there has been little progress.