Ferguson, Kildee Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Land Banks, Grow Local Economies
Washington, April 25, 2023
Congressmen Drew Ferguson (R-GA) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) today introduced the National Land Bank Network Act. This bipartisan legislation would help strengthen neighborhoods, reduce crime and clean up vacant properties by expanding resources for land banks in communities across America. Land banks are powerful tools to address vacant or abandoned properties and bring greater economic investment to communities. The National Land Bank Network Act would create a national network to provide resources, technical assistance and grants to help land banks nationwide implement best practices. This network would also help communities create their own land banks.
“As a former mayor in rural Georgia, I saw first-hand how land banks provided critical opportunities to bring economic growth and future development to local communities that otherwise would not happen,” said Congressman Drew Ferguson. “Land banks can be used to revitalize vacant and abandoned properties – and have the unique ability to create value in properties that the private market would normally avoid. I’m proud to work alongside Congressman Kildee to introduce this legislation.”
“Land banks help communities clean up blighted properties, reduce crime and increase property values. Since I founded Michigan’s first land bank in Genesee County, hundreds of communities across the United States have seen how land banks can restore abandoned properties to productive uses,” said Congressman Dan Kildee. “I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Ferguson to help strengthen more neighborhoods in Michigan and across the country.”
The 2008 Great Recession and the subsequent foreclosure crisis left many small towns and industrial cities with high rates of vacant and abandoned properties. Vacant and abandoned properties destabilize neighborhoods by driving down surrounding property values, creating fire and safety hazards, and draining local tax dollars. Distressed properties are a difficult problem for local communities to resolve. Often, the cost of repairs to maintain these properties and the potential unpaid taxes on such properties exceed the actual property value, discouraging potential buyers.
In response, land banks were developed to help return vacant and tax-delinquent properties to productive uses, like economic development and affordable housing. A federal network for land banks can help expand their reach and capacity to address these challenges and improve neighborhoods across America.
We look forward to meeting with you and developing lasting relationships that can have a major impact on our district and beyond.
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