Tuesday, May 20, 2008


A story in the special Summer Travel section of this Sunday's New York Times on how art and law came together to revive the rundown town of Paducah, Kentucky:

"[Artist] Mark Barone ... was fed up with the neighborhood and challenged the city to do something about it. Barone met with the mayor at the time, Albert Jones, and told him how other cities had improved blighted communities by passing a 'rental licensing ordinance' that forced slumlords to bring their buildings up to code. Jones liked the idea, and in 2000, despite constant battles with Paducah’s building owners, the city commission passed the ordinance .... That marked a turning point for Paducah, but for Barone it was only a start. ... With his help, Paducah put together a package of real estate incentives ... including 100 percent financing, low-interest loans and architectural services — in some cases the city even gave away properties if new owners would develop a plan to rehab them."