They need to do what some other cities have done. Enforce property tax collections. Foreclose on properties for which taxes aren't paid within a reasonable amount of time, and demolish any blighted ones foreclosed on in this way. Over time the housing stock shrinks while nuisance properties are eliminated, and the city is positioned to once again grow once the excess stock is removed.
I wonder how well that works when you're dealing with row houses?
If you want ex-urb prices with an urban environment- the commute is doable (the receptionist at my wife's office somehow manages to be cheery afterwards), I'm surprised more people don't do it.