MV Land Bank to receive $1.6M to rebuild neighborhoods

Published Jun 15, 2017 at 4:00pm

The Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank will receive $1,642,800 to rebuild neighborhoods as part of his Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced.

“Communities throughout New York are still suffering the fallout from the housing crisis, and my office will continue to support innovative programs to help them recover,” said Schneiderman. The 19 land banks in New York will use a total of $20.9 million to help put abandoned properties back into use, “revitalizing towns and cities, and creating a safer, more stable, and more vibrant environment for New York’s families.”

Tolga Morawski, interim executive director of the local land bank, said that of the 10 new land banks, the local multi-county land bank received the largest award “based primarily on our innovative vision for solving the problem of blighted and abandoned properties at the region level.”

The local land bank was approved by the state in October 2016. It includes the City of Rome and the City of Utica, as well as Herkimer, Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie counties. There has been no formal consideration by Oneida County legislators for joining the land bank.

Rome is in the midst of creating a database of properties, in cooperation with the Rome Main Streets Alliance.

“The new GMVLB is piloting an innovative collaboration among four counties and two cities to significantly ramp up efforts to eradicate of abandoned properties,” said Schneiderman.

“We are pursuing abandoned properties in each of our member locations,” said Morawski, “developing a pipeline of properties to offer for sale and then be returned to the tax rolls.”

Morawski said that funds will be used to acquire abandoned or tax delinquent properties and to renovate, stabilize, deconstruct, or, as a last option, demolish these properties. “Every blighted property compromises the entire neighborhood and lessens the resale value of nearby properties,” said Morawski. “While we work on individual properties, the effect is to stabilize entire neighborhoods.”