State's land banks to get funds to help redevelop abandoned properties

Jun 27, 2013

New York state will use some of the money from last year's settlement with banks which contributed to the collapse of the housing market to help fund the state's "land banks," entities that buy and hold abandoned properties for redevelopment.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that a pot of $20 million will be divided up between the state's land banks for later development. Syracuse resident Hadee Rolon hopes it can help her Westside neighborhood, where well-kept properties are surrounded by boarded-up homes.

"I look forward to the day when every house on this block can look beautiful, and just have no broken windows, no boarded up houses and are safe," Rolon said.

Rolon has been living on Marcellus Street in Syracuse since last fall. On one side of her neat home is a boarded-up property, on the other side a vacant lot bounded by a corner grocery.

"I worry about the safety of my children every day," Rolon said. "I worry about that there aren't neighbors around that I know will look out for each other. I love my new home, but I want to see this community filled with families and more homeowners who, like me, will take care of their home and property."

She, along with state and local officials who gathered in front of her home for the announcement, believe the land bank in Syracuse can help neighborhoods like this by rehabilitating vacant and abandoned properties.  The $20 million will be competitively distributed among the state's eight land banks, one of which is in Syracuse.