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Milwaukee to hold national conference on vacant properties next year

Milwaukee will hold the national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference in 2018, organizers of the event announced Wednesday.

The conference, run by the non-profit group Center for Community Progress, will explore the latest ways of dealing with vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties. The eighth annual conference is expected to draw around 1,000 non-profit, government, business and community leaders from as many as 40 states, according to a news release.

The event will be held from May 15 to 17 next year at the Wisconsin Center and will include 60-plus sessions highlighting work meant to deal with vacant properties in places throughout the country, including Milwaukee.

Some of the topics to be covered include: Code enforcement, property-tax foreclosure, demolition and other blight-elimination techniques, reuse of buildings and historic preservation.

“Milwaukee is eager to share our experience and to learn from other conference participants,” Mayor Tom Barrett said in the release. “Our city has successfully repurposed vacant industrial and residential land. And, in doing so, we continue to look for ways to maximize the benefits to residents, neighborhoods, and the entire city.”

The city has a number of programs in place to help prevent more foreclosures and reduce neighborhood blight. The Strong Homes loan program, for instance, provides money to residents who in turn hire contractors to make essential repairs to their properties, such as roof replacements and porch improvements.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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