Study: Land Banks Provide Significant Economic Impact

Angela HartungNews, 2018

In its first comprehensive study on the economic impact of land banks, the Michigan Association of Land Banks said Tuesday efforts by the agencies across the state have given communities a boost in jobs and investment while promoting innovative development.

The 59-page report contains three case studies of the effectiveness of the land banks in Benzie, Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties.

“Land banks all across the state are doing great work,” Michigan Land Bank Director Josh Burgett told reporters Tuesday. “This report shows a good snapshot of the work being done.”

The study, MALB Chair Kelly Clarke said, “validates what we’ve known for years” about land banks’ success in removing blight, improving home values and creating jobs in construction, landscaping and maintenance.

Ms. Clarke, also director of the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, said the study outlined near $20 million of investment in the county over the last nine years. An estimated 270 jobs have been created over that time for construction and services related to the projects where the land bank was involved.

She said the study provides the first quantitative data on the effectiveness of land banks.

“We have the Great Recession in the rearview mirror,” Ms. Clarke said, so the focus can be on further eliminating blight and finding creative uses for properties.

Among those options are solar energy projects, according to reporting last month by the Energy News Network.

Ms. Clarke said there is room for experimentation with future developments such as in housing that is provided with solar energy. She said each community can find unique ways to redevelop old properties and enhance their neighborhoods.

For Calhoun County, the report found demolition or rehabilitation of more than 650 properties in the county since 2011 led to an estimated 87 new jobs and more than $6.3 million of investment back into communities.

In Benzie County, 17 properties had been addressed since 2012. Home values increased an estimated 4 percent on average due to intervention to improve the neighborhoods.

Article Source: Gongwer