BEDFORD – The Lawrence County Commissioners voted Tuesday during their commissioners’ meeting to join the Rebuild Indiana Uplands Regional Land Bank.
Greg Jones from the Southern Indiana Development Commission, a voluntary organization of local government serving Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, and Martin Counties, said the Land Bank is designed to acquire problem properties and then transfer them back to responsible ownership and productive use in accordance with local land use goals and priorities, creating a more efficient and effective system to eliminate blight.
Jones told the commissioners in order to do this, the Land Bank will be granted special powers and legal authority pursuant to the state-enabling statutes.
- Obtain property at low or no cost through the tax foreclosure process
- Hold land tax-free
- Clear title and or extinguish back taxes
- Lease properties for temporary uses
- Negotiate sales based not only on the highest bid but also on the outcome that most closely aligns with community needs, such as workforce housing, a grocery store, or expanded recreational space.
Most land bank acquisitions are vacant, residential, tax-delinquent properties. In addition to tax foreclosed parcels, land banks can acquire real estate-owned properties and receive private donations and public land transfers. Although most properties are typically vacant residential single-family homes or vacant lots, land banks also acquire multifamily dwellings and commercial and industrial properties, and in rare cases, occupied rental properties. SIDC would work with the Land Bank on brownfield sites to acquire large-scale formerly industrial properties.
SDIC is visiting 12 counties to see if they will join the Land Bank. Currently, Greene, Daviess, and Martin County have joined the land bank. It will cost each county $5,000 for 2023 and $5,000 for 2024.
Each county will form its own local committee to prioritize what properties they want to address and one member of the commissioners or county council will be a member of the Land Bank committee.