Advocates Push for Swift Implementation of Land Bank - Generocity Philly

Mar. 14, 2014 3:54 pm

Advocates Push for Swift Implementation of Land Bank

Advocates are hopeful that by the end of 2014 you will be able to locate lots like this one (located at 4th and Thompson in Lower Kensington) through an online database. It has been almost three months since City Council passed legislation forming a land bank in Philadelphia. Now, a leading land bank advocate, the […]

Advocates are hopeful that by the end of 2014 you will be able to locate lots like this one (located at 4th and Thompson in Lower Kensington) through an online database.


It has been almost three months since City Council passed legislation forming a land bank in Philadelphia. Now, a leading land bank advocate, the Philadelphia Association of CDCs (PACDC), is urging the City of Philadelphia to move swiftly so that a bank can be formed by late 2014.

PACDC goals for the year ahead include reliable funding, a permanent board of directors, a strategic plan, and incorporation paperwork with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So far, PACDC is heartened that Mayor Nutter proposed $500,000 for one-time start-up funds for the land bank during his budget address on March 6. However, this means the rest of the money needed would have to come from federal grants, said Beth McConnell, policy director at PACDC.

Board of Directors

Moving beyond the money, advocates are urging Mayor Nutter and City Council to appoint a permanent board of directors to the land bank soon. Currently, the body operates under a temporary board of directors, which was to be in place for three months. The three month period has just about expired.

The mayor is responsible for appointing five members, and City Council is responsible for appointing another five members. The ten appointed members would then vote on an eleventh member.

Strategic Plan

PACDC is also eager to see the land bank develop a strategic plan. McConnell explains that this starts with the hiring of a consultant, who can reach out to community members and look into potential goals for economic development, community development, green space, local agriculture, and other areas.

If the city acts soon in hiring a consultant, McConnell predicts the strategic plan will be developed from June through October. Ultimately, City Council will have to vote on the strategic plan.

Incorporation

Another step that the city needs to take in order for the land bank to become a reality is to incorporate it with the state. “They’ve been a little slow in filing those incorporation papers,” admits McConnell, who thinks the city has been preoccupied with the budget season. The incorporation papers would specify that the land bank would be a somewhat independent entity housed in and directed by the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation.

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McConnell is still hopeful that the land bank will be a reality by the end of 2014, with each City Council member determining properties within their councilmanic districts to be placed in it. In order to do this, PACDC,the Philly Land Bank Alliance, the Community Design Collaborative, Philadelphia LISC, the Food Trust, and others will have to persist in their support.

“It’s going to take constant advocacy and watchdogging of the mayor and City Council to make sure this gets done right,” McConnell said.

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