What's next for the Philadelphia Land Bank? - Generocity Philly

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Oct. 16, 2017 11:12 am

What’s next for the Philadelphia Land Bank?

As new Executive Director Angel Rodriguez told Next City, it's a lot of establishing systems and hiring the right people to activate them.

A vacant lot.

(Photo by Flickr user Gary Blatt, used under a Creative Commons license)

Philly has something like 43,000 vacant lots and other unoccupied properties. Until recently, there wasn’t a system for acquiring and transferring them for active, productive use.

The Philadelphia Land Bank, tasked with “returning land in public ownership to private reuse” via reprocessing titles for vacant, tax-delinquent properties throughout the city, was established after years of effort in December 2015.

The agency hired Angel Rodriguez as its first executive director in August. Rodriguez was most recently VP of community economic development for Asociación Puertorriqueños En Marcha, where he was involved in work relating to housing development, community outreach, economic development and food access.

According to Next City, the land bank now has 10 staffers and is hiring three more to focus on land acquisition. In an interview with the publication, Rodriguez said he’s actively focusing on operations — after all, it’s a complicated thing, this land bank, as it deals exclusively with legally tricky properties.

“We have to be that agency that really is doing the checks and balances and culling through the sheriff’s sales to make sure that identified properties do not go up for auction,” he told Next City.

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