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Land bank proposal seeks to help local governments deal with blighted properties

Delaware Public Media

Counties, cities and towns in Delaware may have a new tool to address blighted properties under a new bill.

The proposal from state Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) and others would let those officials establish non-profits to run land banks.

Those organizations can then buy vacant or run-down properties through sheriff’s sales or local jurisdictions themselves if the area’s long-term vacancy rate is over three percent.

Money for the sales would come from a combination of public funds, grants, private sources and property sale proceeds.

Townsend joined others including Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams and city council members to announce the bill Monday.

They argue these abandoned properties attract crime, depress surrounding property values and are community eyesores.

It now awaits a hearing Wednesday in the Senate Banking and Business Committee chaired by Townsend.