The Restoring Prosperity Initiative is a joint effort of groups in six states and at the national level to develop and advance an agenda for revitalizing America's older industrial cities.

America's central cities are coming back. Employment is up, populations are growing, and many urban real estate markets are thriving. Unfortunately though, not all cities are fully participating in this renaissance. While their counterparts flourish, a group of once-vibrant older industrial cities is experiencing job loss, growing poverty, and shrinking populations.  However, while these cities face challenges, they also have a range of physical, economic, and cultural assets that, if fully leveraged, can serve as a platform for their renewal. The Restoring Prosperity Initiative provides a roadmap for doing just that. Read the Brookings "Restoring Prosperity" report.

Save HUD’s Brownfields Programs!

The HUD Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) and the HUD 108 loan guarantee program are used to clean up and redevelop brownfields and blighted properties. BEDI provides funds for demolition, site preparation, and building rehabilitation on contaminated sites and HUD 108 allows communities to finance major redevelopment projects by borrowing against future CDBG entitlements.

The President’s budget zeroed out both of these programs. During the appropriations process, the House bill restored funding for the programs, providing $25 million for BEDI and $6 million for HUD 108, but the Senate version also zeroed out both programs. The HUD brownfields program fills a unique niche in funding difficult blighted and contaminated sites. It would be a mistake to eliminate these important tools.

The differences between the House and Senate bills will be worked out in conference committee.  Please help us reach out to conferees and ask them to support the House funding levels for these programs! Download our talking points for more information about HUD’s brownfields programs and to find our if your Congress members are on the list of conferees.

Don’t Miss Reclaiming Vacant Properties

The National Vacant Properties Campaign’s second national conference, Reclaiming Vacant Properties: Building Leadership to Restore Communities, will help leaders with diverse backgrounds – residents, community development practitioners, elected officials, the financial community, safety professionals, academics, real estate professionals, and many others – to make our neighborhoods stronger and healthier. 

The conference, cosponsored by the Louisville Metro Government and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will be held June 1-3 in Louisville, Kentucky. An all-star cast of invited speakers includes Carol Coletta of CEOs for Cities, Marc H. Morial of the Urban League, Bruce Rasher of CB Richard Ellis, Inc., Dan Kildee of the Genesee County Land Bank, and Louisville’s own Mayor Abramson.

If you register before April 30, you’ll save $100. More than 600 people attended the first conference in 2007. Don’t miss the opportunity to network and share knowledge with those who have been working to create opportunity from abandonment!

Four More Policy Packages for State Advocates Released

Smart Growth America has released four more policy packages for state advocates, on tax increment financing for brownfields, fix-it-first for water and sewer infrastructure, using Low Income Housing Tax Credits to create and preserve transit-accessible affordable housing, and performance-based transportation measures. Each package includes an overview of the policy, key features of successful legislation, advice on political strategy and communications, sample legislative language, and a fill-in fact sheet for advocates to distribute to state officials. Download the packages today and use them in your state!

Download the entire Brownfields Policy Package.
Download the fill-in Brownfields Fact Sheet and customize to fit your state.

Download the entire Fix-it-First Policy Package.
Download the fill-in Fix-it-First Fact Sheet and customize to fit your state.

Download the entire LIHTC Policy Package.
Download the fill-in LIHTC Fact Sheet and customize to fit your state.

Download the entire Transportation Policy Package.

Restoring Prosperity Partners Submit Recommendations to Congress

A coalition of groups supporting the revitalization of older industrial cities submitted recommendations to Congress for inclusion in a stimulus package proposed by President-elect Obama. Groups signed on to a letter that provided suggestions for stimulus spending in three areas: housing, transportation and infrastructure, and economic and workforce development. Read the text of that letter here