Front Doors and Dollar Yards: Stepping forward in the land bank movement

Image via takebackvacantland.orgLast month, we wrote about Pennsylvania’s land bank bill and Philadelphia’s own efforts to bring the “bank” to our city. Good news! The City recently acquired the “front door” to their land bank.

After a year and a half, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority has launched new processes in acquiring property and maintaining vacant lots. This monumental first step provides an easy-access index of information regarding lot purchases, uses, applications and available properties.

This new policy includes a “$1” yard, in which eligible lots will be made available to neighbors for one dollar, plus transfer expenses. This new policy strives to incorporate fresh-air spaces in place of run-down vacancies that will enhance the overall quality of our neighborhoods.

This development comes from the efforts of Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, Mayor Nutter’s Vacant Property Task Force, and community partners like the Philadelphia Association for Community Development Corporations. Sánchez, who had proposed a city lank bank bill this past February, especially worked to guarantee the policies were effective and applicable to diverse situations.

Land purchases will be offered at reduced prices, as a catalyst for economic and community growth. This “front door” policy should pave the way for the passing of the bill, introducing a streamlined system to community development.

The impending Philadelphia Land Bank will maintain a single authority to hold land, simplifying the process of maintaining lots. A public hearing for the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6 at 2 p.m. in City Hall.

More questions? Check out the Redevelopment Authority’s website.

Want to become more active in the Land Bank campaign? Visit here to sign a petition.