Lynchburg spot blight program serving as model

Lynchburg’s spot blight program may be a model for Danville as that community’s city council investigates strategies to improve the appearance and quality of the community while caring for historic resources. Danville has done a lot to capitalize on its historic character, including loft conversion in the tobacco warehouse district, the interpretation of local history through a mural program, and the founding of the state’s first historic preservation clubs in high schoolsWatch the video here about the current discussion.

Lynchburg’s spot blight program provides the city with an effective tool to get blighted properties out of the hands of absentee property owners. Historic properties can then be acquired by sympathetic investors and unsafe, non-historic  properties that may be discouraging investment in surrounding properties can be removed.

Lynchburg provides a good model, not just because of the similarities in the two communities, but because City Attorney Walter C. Erwin, III is acknowledged as an expert resource around the commonwealth.  More than 140 blighted properties have been addressed throught the program since it began in 1999.  In 2009 he presented on blight reduction at the Virginia Municipal League Conference, and the proceedings from his session provide a thorough overview of tools and policies. It’s well worth downoading and filing with your revitalization resources.