The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering a bill which would permit governmental entities to sell its public parks. The concern expressed by many – including newspaper columnists and groups such as the League of Women Voters – is that government officials will improperly use this as a “quick fix” to solve fiscal problems. For example

On July 6, 2010, Governor Rendell signed the Fiscal Code Bill (Senate Bill 1042), providing, in part, for the automatic suspension, during the "extension period" (which begins after December 31, 2008, and ends before July 2, 2013), of approvals granted by a government agency for or in effect during the extension period, whether obtained before

The City of Philadelphia has until March 2011 to spend $45 million to fight blight.
The money is the last of the bond proceeds for the city’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative that former Mayor John F. Street started in 2001 to demolish abandoned buildings and acquire vacant properies.
Continue Reading Philadelphia Trying To Beat Deadline To Spend $45M To Fight Blight

Pennsylvania will receive $68.8 million and New Jersey will get $46.8 million in federal stimulus funds for housing redevelopment projects. These projects will include acquiring blighted properties. It is virtually certain that many will be acquired through the power of eminent domain.
Continue Reading PA and N.J. Awarded $115 Million in Federal Housing Funds

New York’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that private property could be condemned for the “Atlantic Yards” project. That project involves, among other things, an NBA arena and 16 office and residential towers in Brooklyn. The properties were purportedly condemned to eliminate “blight.”
Continue Reading New York’s Highest Court Upholds Atlantic Yards Condemnations

A Philadelphia City Controller audit found significant accounting and reporting problems with former Mayor John Street’s anti-blight effort, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. The audit found that NTI, as of June 30, 2008, had failed to make nearly $13 million in payments on nearly 1,500 condemned properties awaiting settlement in court.
Continue Reading Audit Faults Accounting on Philadelphia Anti-blight Effort