Almost every city has them, neighborhoods that were once beautiful, now filled with run down dilapidated houses. Valiant efforts to turn them around arent always successful, thats why the city has hired Tom Barnett from Paducah, who has helped these neighborhoods come full circle. Its a reality most cities face, as they grow people move further out often abandoning historic downtown neighborhoods. Tom- "What you have to do is get the neighborhoods back to what they were in my opinion were mixed income neighborhoods." The key to making that happen, find a balance between old and new. "Its a tricky juggling act, but if you do it right youll get neighborhoods turned around in fairly short order." There are several parts to this plan. First, get investors interested in restoration. Paducah accomplished that by buying the houses, then giving them away. "Here it is, we bought it for you, but we want to see what your going to do, how much youre going to invest, and you have to get started by a certain time, and essentially complete it by a certain time." The city also partnered with banks to help investors get a better deal. Second, get current homeowners to upgrade. Barnett says that takes a combination of tougher code enforcements and incentives. "If you fix up the property, were going to help invest in this entire neighborhood, to bring up values, so you can charge more rent, make it better and make some money." At the same time, help for low to moderate income occupants. For that volunteers are needed. "Theres a lot of church groups, social groups out there willing to help I think and its all a matter of putting them all together, providing them with materials, and make sure somebody knows the tech aspects of what theyre doing." Once these actions are put into play, Barnett says they must be backed up with support, like new residential units, and rehabs of older structures. All of these ingredients make for a viable neighborhood and a new urbanism. "When a communitys strong, there is money for all the things you want to do, good schools, roads, high quality of life, if you do those smart things that attract young people of means and education, that will make you a great city." Barnett made this vision a reality in Paducah, but can he make lightning strike twice? "Ive got some ideas about how that can work, and i think these ideas can work anywhere if done properly." Barnett will begin his position with the city next month.