Holyoke group attended national conference on vacant properties

Deconstruction, renovation among the subjects discussed

Attendees at the 2016 Vacant Properties Conference. From left to right: Atty. Nyles Courchesne, OneHolyoke Property Manager Billie Jones, OneHolyoke Exec. Director Mike Moriarty, and Holyoke Asst. City Solicitor Paul Payer. Image Courtesy: OneHolyoke CDC

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of community leaders from Holyoke has returned from a conference in Baltimore, designed to figure out ways to make use of vacant properties. The conference was put on by the national nonprofit Center for Community Progress, which bills itself as focusing on turning “vacant spaces to vibrant places.”

Michael Moriarty, Executive Director for OneHolyoke CDC was one of the conference attendees. In a news release sent to 22News, he said that revitalizing distressed properties is a huge part of what his organization does, so this conference was very valuable.

“In partnership with the City of Holyoke, we have restored over 160 abandoned lots to the tax rolls and created an asset of lasting value for the families who purchase our new homes. Understanding the best practices, challenges, and trends of communities across the United States is key to supporting Holyoke as we move forward,” Moriarty said.

Training sessions at the conference included deconstruction, renovation, and community outreach. Participants also visited several sites in the city of Baltimore to see projects that have been successful there.

Moriarty says that later this month, Holyoke will be the site of a forum on the subject of vacant properties, which will feature city and state leaders.