Ashland Joins County Land Bank
Land Bank Update
April 11, 2016
MAHANOY CITY — The Borough of Ashland recently decided to become part of the Schuylkill County Land Bank, Keith Karlavage, the land bank’s chairman, said Thursday.
The other eight taxing bodies that have signed on to date are Schuylkill County, Delano Township, Mahanoy Area School District, Mahanoy City borough, Minersville Area School District, Minersville borough, Shenandoah borough and Shenandoah Valley School District, according to Clyde C. “Champ” Holman, chairman of the Northern Schuylkill Council of Governments.
“We’re hoping the Borough of Frackville and North Schuylkill School District also sign on,” Holman said Thursday.
The land bank is still in the process of setting up shop.
At its April meeting Wednesday, held at Mahanoy City Borough Hall, 239 E. Pine St., Mahanoy City, the land bank’s board of directors voted to open a checking account at M&T Bank, Karlavage said.
At its next meeting, slated for 7 p.m. May 4 at borough hall, the board will review the organization’s strategic plan.
A land bank is a public or community-owned entity established to acquire, manage, maintain and repurpose vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties, according to the website for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Schuylkill County Land Bank is the first land bank established in the county since the state House and Senate approved Act 153 of 2012, which enabled municipalities in Pennsylvania to create them.
The land bank held its first meeting in February.
At its second meeting in March, the group appointed its first board of directors. Its members include chairman, Karlavage, who is also chairman of the board of supervisors at Delano Township; vice chairman, Carl McBreen, who is superintendent at Minersville Area School District; and secretary/treasurer, Ian Mahal, who is a member of Minersville Borough Council.
Other members of the board include Joe Brady, Daniel L. Lynch, Jeffrey A. Feeser, Gary Bender, Sean Macleary, Jack J. Hurst, Eileen Burke and Ray Jones, according to Holman.
The land bank’s solicitor is Chris Riedlinger, an attorney from Pottsville who works with the Northern Schuylkill COG and numerous municipalities, according to Holman.
The land bank’s consultant is Chris Gulotta, a blight consultant with the Gulotta Group, Carlisle, Holman said.