Land Bank by Gregg Motley

Gregg Motley. President of the Regional Economic Development, Inc. Submitted photo.

 

Our community created a land bank earlier this year, but few know about it and even fewer know what it is and why we did it. I agreed serve on the board when it was organized because I believe it is a valuable tool to help us address some of our challenges in residential real estate and commercial buildings in the county’s downtown areas.

Why a land bank?

Land banks can play a number of different roles including, (a) providing a mechanism for assembling parcels of tax-delinquent or abandoned properties for redevelopment, (b) acquiring and holding historic properties until the community can develop them, and (c) acquiring properties to convert to other uses such as retail, parks, or housing.

In addition to acquiring and holding land, land banks can maintain, rehabilitate, demolish, and lease or sell property.

Land banks are most commonly established in localities like Bourbon County with low housing costs and an inventory of tax-delinquent properties that the community wants to repurpose to support community goals.

Additionally, a land bank is great vehicle to create public/private/charitable partnerships in order to address difficult issues such as the market value gap between costs to construct and appraised value after the improvements are completed.

It is a great way to involve real estate expertise that might not be possessed by local governments.

It can also be an entity under which a community land trust is formed for the purpose of providing a community with a permanent and increasing level of affordable housing.

The Eagle Block buildings were the original motivation to initiate this drawing board idea that had been discussed for a few years.

Unfortunately, we were too late to save that historical structure, having been formed just a few weeks before the building collapsed. That building might still be standing, along with its neighbor, if we would have formed the land bank a few years ago; I am thankful that our current commissions had the vision to act, even though it was too late for the Eagle Block.

How could a land bank have saved the Eagle Block buildings? By working closely with the city to enforce codes and hold owners of buildings in the historical district to their responsibility to preserve and protect these irreplaceable memorials to our community’s history.

We have just started and it will take some time to create effective processes. These are the kinds of initiatives that we need to help Bourbon County be all that we can be. Look for the land bank to do good things in the years to come.

One thought on “Land Bank by Gregg Motley”

  1. I look forward to seeing how the land bank will function and improve our community housing and commercial entities.

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