Capital Region Land Bank takes on 34 new properties, residents glad

 “The City of Schenectady announced the Capital Region Land Bank has been approved to evaluate 34 abandoned buildings for renovation or demolition.

Of the properties, 21 of them are in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood and six are in the Eastern Avenue neighborhood, in addition to several other properties that were announced for demolition earlier in the month. “

To read the full CBS6 Albany article click HERE

Cattaraugus County Land Bank leaving its mark on neighborhoods

“In less than two years, the Cattaraugus County Land Bank Corporation has begun to make its mark.

It was a little over a year ago when the Land Bank authorized its first demolition of abandoned, blighted buildings.

Earlier this month, the Land Bank Corporation authorized four more buildings on the county’s tax foreclosure list for rehabilitation. Eight more houses — including four in Olean — were targeted for demolition. The properties are transferred to the Land Bank.”

To read the full Orleans Times Herald article click HERE

Schenectady, Land Bank look at future of 34 blighted properties

“Schenectady officials and the Capital Region Land Bank will work together to find a strategy for 34 more blighted properties in the city.

The City Council approved the agreement Monday. There isn’t a large expenditure of funds involved, and the collaboration won’t provide a resolution for the properties, only set a path to demolition or renovation.

But it is seen as another step in continuing a campaign that has seen nearly 200 derelict structures demolished in the city over the last several years.”

To read the full Daily Gazette article click HERE

Town hears update on East Herkimer trailer park

“The residents of the trailer park at 220 Main Road in East Herkimer are now paying rent to the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank, according to Robert Albrecht, land bank outreach and engagement coordinator.

The land bank was not yet the official owner of the property Albrecht told the Herkimer Town Board during a meeting Monday, but an attorney was working on the deed and he expected it would be finalized soon.”

Read the full Times Telegram article HERE

"Celebrating Successes, Inspiring New Achievements" NYLBA Conference 2019

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The BENLIC Board and Staff welcome this opportunity to host the annual NYS Land Bank conference. Come and enjoy Buffalo’s Canalside District and waterfront at this most pleasant time of the year!

With nearly 35 land banks Statewide, this event will be an excellent networking and educational opportunity for land bank staff, Board members, legislators and colleagues who interface regularly with New York State Land Banks as a critical community development tool. We look forward to providing inspiration, site visits to witness BENLIC’s recent successes and partnerships in person, and a program of in-depth panel topics to enable each Land Bank to achieve meaningful successes in their respective communities.

REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY CLICK HERE TO GET REGISTERED!

Niskayuna's infamous 'zombie' property problem solved

The Capital Region Land Bank will be purchasing notorious “zombie” property 2 Cornelius Avenue in Niskayuna from Mr. Cooper. The Land Bank will explore proposals for both rehab and demolition and will also seek $20,000 in grant funds to help offset any costs associated with the property. Chairman of the Land Bank’s Board, Richard Ruzzo, praised the Land Bank’s work:

“The Land Bank's mission is to improve neighborhoods by fixing homes that need renovation and demolishing zombie properties that are beyond repair. We have seen time and time again that neighborhoods improve when vacant and derelict properties are taken care of instead of being neglected."

Read the full Times Union article here.

Land bank hitting stride in 3rd year

The Oswego County Land Bank continues to build on its early successes. To date, about $1 million has been put back on the tax rolls through the Land Bank’s work. Kim Park, Executive Director of the Oswego County Land Bank, says over 15 properties are poised for rehabilitation and 8 are slated for demolition with the help of recently awarded grant funds. Check out this article for more about the Oswego County Land Bank’s work.

Clinton County eyes land bank slot

Since the Governor signed legislation last month to increase the cap of land banks from 25 to 35, more municipalities have been entertaining the idea of applying to ESD to create a land bank. Clinton County has joined the conversation and is actively considering establishing a land bank. Land banks are great tools to help address vacancy in blight. You can read more about Clinton County’s endeavor here.

Ogdensburg zombie, land bank programs each reaching milestones at end of year

The Ogdensburg Land Bank Corporation and the city’s zombie-property program are both gearing up for complimentary work in 2019.

“The two programs are designed to go hand in glove as part of ongoing efforts in Ogdensburg to improve blighted residential neighborhoods and business districts. ‘Collectively the two programs work well together to address the larger issue of property abandonment, vacancy and blight,” said Ogdensburg Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith.

Read more about the joint efforts here.

Sullivan Land Bank reducing blight

The Sullivan County Land Bank has worked on 13 properties since being established. Most have been demolitions—the removal of these vacant buildings has had a great impact. Bill Reiber, Town Supervisor for Thompson, NY says the Sullivan County Land Bank “is changing the character of neighborhoods rather than just pot-shooting a house here or there. By targeting certain areas, you can see the blight is gone, and people interested in being here can start investing money.”

Read more about the land bank’s great work here.

How to Fund Land Banks

This month, Shelterforce published an article by Tarik Abdelazim (of Center for Community Progress) that tackles how to successfully fund land banks. Read the full article here for a look into lessons learned over the last 10 years as land banks continue to mature.

Stabilizing and revitalizing disinvested neighborhoods is not an overnight endeavor. Land banks require planning, patience, and partnerships—and dedicated, recurring funding affords land banks the opportunity to carry out meaningful community engagement, pursue long-term strategies, and pilot innovative partnerships.
— Tarik Abdelazim

A.G. Underwood Awards Nearly $26 Million to New York Land Banks

Earlier this month, the NYS Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced almost $26 Million had been awarded to land banks across New York. This funding will allow NYS land banks to continue their work returning vacant and abandoned properties to productive use.

“Land banks are a pivotal part of revitalizing and rebuilding neighborhoods across the state,” said Attorney General Underwood. “Thanks to funding secured by my office’s settlements with the big banks, we’ve been able to invest in cities and towns across New York still recovering from the foreclosure crisis.”

Read the full press release here.

Demolitions Across the State

Land banks across New York are responsibly returning vacant and abandoned properties to productive use and eliminating harm from our communities. One way land banks improve our communities is through the demolition of blighted, structurally unsafe buildings. While demolitions sometimes get a bad rap, removing a blighted building can lead to safer neighborhoods and more opportunities for land reuse.

The Broome County Land Bank Corporation began the demolition of three nuisance properties in August. One building demolished had been severely damaged in a fire and had seen more police activity due to illegal trespassing and squatting. The other two buildings had been vacant since severe flooding in Broome County in 2011. Click here to read more about the Broome County Land Bank's demolitions.

The Cattaraugus County Land Bank Corporation has several demolitions planned for this year and the upcoming year. In addition to 11 planned rehabilitation, Cattaraugus County Land Bank plans to demolish seven properties this year and an additional 12 buildings next year. reducing blight in the community. For more information on improvements being done by the Cattaraugus County Land Bank Corporation, click here.

Building equitable communities: It takes systems reform, collaboration, and community wealth-building

Last month, the Center for Community Progress highlighted community revitalization work happening across the country. CCP and JPMorgan Chase hosted a learning exchange between local governments, land banks, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and nonprofits to discuss strategies that can tackle vacancy and abandonment in an equitable way. 

As a recipient of CCP's national Technical Assistance Scholarship Program, the Albany County Land Bank were among attendees at the May 2018 learning exchange. ACLB shared information on its Equitable Ownership Program designed to provide more affordable homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers in Albany County's most economically distressed neighborhoods

To see what other community development groups are working on throughout the U.S., read CCP's full blog post.

Reactivating Abandoned Buildings through Local Ownership in Smaller Cities

Several NYS land banks are rehabbing vacant and abandoned properties through the Neighbors for Neighborhoods program. The goal of the program is "to develop some affordable rental housing in struggling neighborhoods and build local wealth at the same time." Through Neighbors for Neighborhoods, land banks across the state are making investments to provide high quality, affordable rental units. Under the terms of sale, units must be affordable for 20 years and will be sold to those that do not own more than two rental properties. 

Next City wrote a great article about the transformative work NYS land banks are doing to rehab and occupy these units!