'Land bank' program becomes law

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Nov 10, 2012 7:25 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Some county and local governments may soon be able to buy, manage and resell abandoned and blighted properties under a measure recently signed into law by Governor Corbett.

The legislation permits the creation of so-called "land banks" and is aimed at dealing with the commonwealth's roughly 300-thousand abandoned properties.

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania Executive Director Liz Hersh says fixing up areas could be an economic booster.

"The economic potential for land banking is tremendous," Hersh says. "It's going to really help our local economy and be a real driver for rehab, renovation and demolition, construction. It really will have a bottom-line impact on our communities."

Hersh says getting blighted properties into the hands of responsible owners will improve the quality of life in neighborhoods and increase surrounding property values.

She says a loss of jobs and the state's decreasing population have led to a rise in the number of abandoned lots.

More than 10 percent of the state's blighted properties are in Philadelphia.

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