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Tackling blight: State approves county land bank

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Sat, Nov 4th 2017 08:25 pm
Niagara County economic development officials have received official word that the state has approved the creation of a new regional land bank operated in conjunction with North Tonawanda, Lockport, Niagara Falls and Orleans County.
The Niagara-Orleans Regional Land Improvement Corp. is designed to provide local governments a tool for coping with urban blight and restoring brownfields to useful, developable, taxable land.
"Land banks are an effective, proven solution for forcing the redevelopment and repair of otherwise usable properties. We don't want them idle and vacant eyesores," said Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Randy R. Bradt, R-North Tonawanda.
The new land bank will hold a meeting of its board of directors within 60 days to establish its operations.
"This represents an effort to use economic development tools to enhance quality of life," Bradt added. "The rehabilitation of these sites improves property values across entire neighborhoods, and it means that the right people are held accountable to keep up abandoned sites."
The formal approval of NORLIC caps a collaborative effort between the county, economic planners in the three cities, and next door in Orleans County, begun when local development authorities found themselves ignored and shut out of another local land bank.
"This represents the kind of municipal partnership that can have benefits for all of our communities," said Legislator Kathryn Lance, R-Wheatfield, who chairs the county legislature's economic development committee. "We get good results when we work together to solve common problems."

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