Peoria chosen as one of 12 cities for leadership institute on vacant and abandoned properties

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Peoria was selected out of hundreds of candidates as one of 12 cities to be part of a new training program addressing vacant, abandoned and dilapidated properties.

The newly established Vacant Property Leadership Institute (VPLI) is a partnership between National League of Cities and the Center for Community Progress, a nonprofit that focuses on the revitalization on vacant and abandoned properties.

“I can’t emphasize enough how excited and proud I am as a councilman, that throughout the country we’re recognized as one the top 12 cities in this regard,” said District 3 Councilman Tim Riggenbach.

Riggenbach said the program will focus on land banking and strategic code enforcement like tall weeds, broken windows and chipped paint.

He said Peoria’s newly established Land Bank will be “acquiring vacant lots, lots that have been abandoned and will be compiling that for future development.”

“We’re kind of on the front end trying to do that proactively, improve our neighborhoods, improve the conditions and improve the lives of our residents,” said Joe Dulin, assistant community development director at Peoria Community Development Department.

Dulin said vacant and abandoned properties pose many issues for the community, and the training program will give leaders the tools they need.

“Decreasing property values for the properties surrounding them, there’s increased crime rates, they lead to more arson fire,” he said. “We’re hoping to get as much information out of there as possible to really apply it top every part of the community.”

Dulin said the Leadership Institute will take place in February 2022. The delegation will consist of himself, City Manager Patrich Urich, the new Land Bank manager and representatives from the Community Development Department’s Neighborhood Division and Code Enforcement Division.

Riggenbach said he thinks Peoria was chosen because of the hard work of the Community Development Department.

“We’ve been recognized for the creative work, out-of-the-box thinking that we do… that’s a win win for everybody,” Riggenbach said.

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