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Flint is Fighting Foreclosures with Land Banks

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By : Julie Thompson    99 or more times read
The name of Flint is connected with both the glorious days as well as the downfall of the automobile industry. Foreclosures coupled with unemployment have left behind a trail of vacant houses – blighting the community. In downtown Flint the heritage Durant Hotel had been standing vacant for over three decades until the latest loan tools enabled it to be renovated at a cost of $30 million. The tool is termed the land bank.

The idea has taken over the imagination of the nation for the positive effect it is happening on the urban curse from vacant foreclosed units. The city or the related county resorts to creating of land bank comprising of properties instead of allowing these foreclosed houses to be sold or auctioned off. Few of the units are repaired and sold. Those in unredeemable condition are razed to the ground and the land is then sold to local property owners or developers explained Dan Kildee, the treasurer of Genesee County. He has initiated this unique land bank scheme. Apart from Flint the other municipalities implementing the scheme are Kansas City suburb Overland Park and Richmond in California.

The money for either the refurbishing or demolition is gotten from delinquent taxes that are collected. Kildee commented, “The land bank is changing the conditions and aesthetics in Flint. Where once there was an abandoned house, there’s now a community garden.” As the recession marches on, more land banks are being formed to contain the menace of foreclosures. The land bank scheme had given a boost to property value in Flint.

The idea sprouted about a decade ago and applied to Atlanta and Louisville says Professor Franks Alexander of Affordable Housing and Community Development at Emory University of Atlanta.

In May this year Cuyahoga County including Cleveland started a land bank. Jim Rokakis, the treasurer of the county has hopes that it will have a positive impact on about 35,000 vacant units. He said, “A vacant home on a street absolutely destroys the value in the rest of the neighborhood. There are some neighborhoods in Cleveland that have no housing market left.”

The first land bank took off in July by The Overland Park City Council. Plans are afoot to use $700,000 of federal stimulus money to purchase, repair and sell off three foreclosed units. Maryland has legalized the setting up of land banks. The land bank of Genesee County had started in 2002. It will now take over ownership of thousands of foreclosed houses.
Julie Thompson, has been working on studying the foreclosures market, helping buyers on the finer points of House Foreclosure. Try to visit and begin your Foreclosure Listings search.

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