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Thune wants Facebook friends to help fill vacant properties

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Apparently there's about 140 abandoned homes in St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune's Ward 2 district, and -- with cash on deck -- he's turning to Facebook to find buyers. Friend a foreclosure, anyone?

Thune has ponied up $3,500 from what MPR described as a special fund for his district, to pay Web designer and St. Paul community activist Steve Boland "to work with realtors to identify properties and help community members understand what they should post."

"Excited about using social networking to promote purchases of vacant homes in St Paul. Shout out to Councilmember Thune for creativity," he said on his Twitter feed. (He calls himself "very liberal" on his Facebook page.)

Folks who update their Facebook pages, and other social media accounts, extolling the virtues of their neighborhood -- Ward 2 includes West 7th Street, the West Side, Summit Hill, Railroad Island, Lowertown, and the Downtown business district -- won't get paid. The idea is that they're helping sell property to boost the value of their neighborhood.

Martha Varela, of the West Side Safe Neighborhood Council, told MPR that using online social networks to find buyers for foreclosed homes is a logical extension of real life networks in the area. (Maybe Facebook will jumpstart their news blog, which hasn't been updated since November 2006.)