Girardville Borough, PA Considering Land Bank Creation
On February 13, republicanherald.com released an article titled Girardville approves looking into land bank idea.
Girardville approves looking into land bank idea
GIRARDVILLE — Girardville borough council approved a letter of intent during Thursday’s meeting to become involved in the creation of a land bank in the county.
The letter was approved in a 4-0 vote to be part of the investigatory process to determine if the concept of a land bank would be advantageous in dealing with problems associated with blighted properties.
Other member municipalities of the Northern Schuylkill Council of Governments have also shown interest in investigating the land bank idea to learn how the process will help in dealing with dilapidated properties in order to improve neighborhoods.
Before the vote, councilwoman Michelle H. O’Connell read the letter to COG President Clyde “Champ” Holman to confirm the interest of the borough to work with the COG to develop a reinvestment strategy with the purpose to “develop a focused program to encourage private investment in targeted areas of our community where disinvestment has occurred.”
The letter said, “The reinvestment strategy will outline a holistic approach for tackling the problem of blight in the context of community investment. It is expected that the approach will include a number of tools to address blighted and abandoned properties, including the formation of a county-wide land bank.”
The creation of land banks came through the passage of HB 1682 in 2012. The bill was sponsored by state Rep. John Taylor, R-177, and supported in the state Senate by Senators David G. Argall, R-29, and Gene Yaw, R-23. The bill was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett on Oct. 24, 2012.
According to Smart Growth America, the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide, HB 1682 enables municipalities in Pennsylvania to create land banks, local entities that can hold and manage vacant properties and direct their reuse and redevelopment. Land banks make it easier and cheaper for prospective buyers to redevelop blighted properties into homes and businesses, ultimately reversing cycles of economic decline and getting delinquent properties back on municipal tax rolls.
The COG municipalities that have approved the letter of intent did so with the stipulation that no funds would be committed until a study is completed and that the costs of creating and conducting the land bank would be affordable and cost-effective.
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