December 10, 2014 [Campus District Observer]
Land banks’ adaptability yields results for communities tackling vacant and problem properties, according to report. Approximately 120 land banks exist in the United States. Their ability to adapt to local conditions and needs is helping communities address the negative impacts of vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties, according to Take it to the Bank: How Land Banks Are Strengthening America’s Neighborhoods, a new report from the Center for Community Progress. Download the report here in the link below.
“What we found confirms that land banks are not one-size-fits-all,” said Kim Graziani, vice president and director of national technical assistance at the Center for Community Progress, who oversaw the research.
The report also draws on research to clarify what characterizes effective land banking. The Cuyahoga Land Bank, for example, has balanced demolition, renovation by private investors and collaborations with other Community Development stakeholders to facilitate positive land repurposing. It has worked with CDCs, social service agencies, County government, municipalities and faith-based organizations to promote stable neighborhoods and human enrichment.
Other signs of effective land banking include transparency in terms of policies, financials, and operations, as well as strategic links to the tax foreclosure process. Tax-foreclosed properties are considered an important source of land bank property acquisitions.
Even the most effective land bank will still require some level of public funding, the report argues, because land banks take on properties with costly liabilities like delinquent taxes, unclear title, code violations, and severe disrepair, generally in neighborhoods with little to no responsible market activity.
In Cuyahoga County, working with the County Administration, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has been a leader in promoting best practices and policy leadership in the areas of land reuse and tax foreclosure. The report studied 67 land banks from 2013-2014, and the Cuyahoga Land Bank is one of only seven land banks featured in an in-depth portrait.
The Center for Community Progress is the only national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which blight no longer exists in American communities.