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Land bank to combat vacancy approved for Syracuse, Onondaga County

Crews contracted by the city of Syracuse clean up vacant homes on McAllister Avenue on the southside of the city.

Crews contracted by the city of Syracuse clean up vacant homes on McAllister Avenue on the southside of the city. Photo by Amanda Seef.

— To combat growing vacancy issues in the city, the county and city are exploring a new option in tandem — a land bank. That program was approved today by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The county-city deal would allow the municipality to take over tax-delinquent properties, in order to sell the blighted property to a responsible developer. Profits of the sale go back into the land bank, keeping the funds in the city.

A land bank, or the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corp.,would run as a not-for-profit corporation serving as a “vehicle” to help acquire the blighted homes. In an info sheet produced by Onondaga County, properties are often sold at auction to a person without a commitment to the community. Land banks will help that problem, the pamphlet say.

"Our region has shown once again that we are putting progress ahead of parochial interests. The designation of the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation as one of the first land banks in New York State is a testament to the innovative public-private partnership forged in recent years to proactively address the challenge of vacant and tax delinquent properties throughout Onondaga County," said Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Syracuse and Onondaga County's project to create a land bank was one of five approved today by Cuomo. Other land banks will be created in Schenedtady, Buffalo, Chautaqua County and the city of Newburgh.

"These applicants made a strong case that the land bank will be successful in their communities and we fully expect them to make a difference," said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Land Bank program, local entities now have the tools to rebuild long-neglected urban neighborhoods through economic development and restore the character and economic vitality of our communities."

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