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Rick Reinhard

The Lakelands Institute

Rick Reinhard is principal of Niagara Consulting Group and associate at the Lakelands Institute. He served public-private economic-development partnerships and city governments for 30 years before devoting the last five years to working for the United Methodist Church. He is the author of the April 2021 Public Management article "Redeveloping Houses of Worship."

Reinhard's previous positions include serving as deputy executive director of the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, managing director for urban development and infrastructure finance at the Urban Land Institute, president of Central Atlanta Progress, chief executive of the Ilex Urban Regeneration Co. in Derry, Northern Ireland, and chief of staff to the mayor of Buffalo, New York. He can be reached at

Houses of worship own billions worth of empty, deteriorating or underused real estate. Some local governments and denominations are moving to carve it into badly needed housing, but there are plenty of obstacles.
Across the country, houses of worship are shuttering by the thousands. Municipalities have a role in finding new uses for abandoned buildings that have long anchored communities and neighborhoods.