(STATEHOUSE) – The Indiana House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve State Rep. Chris May’s (R-Bedford) legislation fostering economic development in rural areas of the state.
According to May, his legislation would help small communities come together to enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them. He said this would promote economic activity and result in additional housing options in rural areas while removing hazardous buildings and stabilizing property values.
“One of the challenges we’re facing in more rural areas, which is much of the district I represent, is promoting economic development,” May said “Through this legislation, cities and counties in the proximity of each other could band together to create regional development. From an economic standpoint, this bill can put another tool in locals’ toolbox to spur development and create opportunities for affordable housing.”
May said land banks are created by neighboring cities and counties to manage underused or abandoned properties for new development.
Currently, the only established land banks in Indiana are in Elkhart, Indianapolis, and Muncie. May’s legislation would expand the scope of these land banks from the county level to regional areas to help with the upfront costs of establishing them.
House Bill 1370 now moves to the Indiana Senate for consideration.
State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) represents House District 65, which includes all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson, and Johnson counties.