Albany County Leaders Agree to Establish County’s First Land Bank
April 01, 2014
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy today announced that county leaders have filed an application with Empire State Development to establish the Albany County Land Bank, which will restore the community and address blight in the county.
In the early stages, the land bank will focus on the City of Albany in order to establish operations and due to the city’s concentrations of vacant and abandoned properties in the downtown area. The county has committed $1 million over the next two years to fund the start-up of the land bank. It is expected that the land bank will apply for Regional Economic Development funding and seeking other sources in its early stages.
“This is truly good news for Albany County,” said McCoy. “The county is working with our partners to address the issue of blight in a proactive way. This is just the beginning as we will work to improve our neighborhoods, reduce crime and make our county a leader in bringing our community back.”
Shawn Morse, Chairman of the Albany County Legislature said: “I’m optimistic that the land bank will be a successful tool to help revitalize our urban centers throughout the county. Thanks go out to all those who worked so hard over a period of many months to get us to where we are today especially our legislative members, County Executive and community organizers.”
“This is certainly a great day for Albany County,” said Majority Leader Frank Commisso. “I’m looking forward to a successful application process and what the Land Bank Board of Directors will do as we move ahead. Thank you to County Executive McCoy, legislators and the board of directors for your input.”
County Legislator Chris Higgins (Center Square) said, "Words can't express how happy I am to see the County step up to the plate and hit a home run by agreeing to establish a county land bank and significantly capitalize its operations. By making such a large financial contribution the legislature is re-affirming the commitment it made nearly two years ago to combat blight and urban decay in Albany."
The land bank will serve several purposes including:
- It will serve as organizational coordination point for efforts to eliminate blight undertaken by non-profits and agencies.
- Increase the tax base by getting affected properties back on the tax rolls and helping to increase the taxable and market value of neighborhoods by demolishing vacant buildings.
- Attracting commercial development by creating neighborhood-based markets for goods and services.
The need for the land bank in the county has been well documented over the years. The city includes significant areas of vacant and abandoned property that are located contiguous to downtown. Within these areas there are approximately 375 properties, including those owned by the county, the city of Albany and the Albany Community Development Agency. Inventory acquired by the land bank include vacant land, vacant buildings suitable for rehabilitation or demolition and vacant commercial buildings suitable for rehabilitation or demolition.