March 29, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kingston City Land Bank Receives
Empire State Development Approval
KINGSTON, NY -- Mayor Steve Noble is pleased to announce that the City of Kingston has been approved by Empire State Development (ESD) to establish the Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB). The approval was made by the ESD Board of Directors on March 29, 2018.
The Kingston City Land Bank has been formed with the purpose of acquiring title to city-owned and other distressed properties in the City of Kingston, removing barriers to redevelopment, and returning the properties to the tax rolls. The key priorities of the Kingston City Land Bank will be to ensure that the reuse of these properties provides opportunities for homeownership for those who might not otherwise be afforded such opportunity, to maintain a range of affordability in the city's housing stock, and to guide the redevelopment of properties to enhance neighborhoods and suit the needs of the residents of those neighborhoods.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our community to address deteriorating properties and promote home ownership, ultimately strengthening our neighborhoods and improving the quality of life of our residents,” said Mayor Noble. “I appreciate the vote of confidence Empire State Development has shown Kingston and am committed to leveraging this opportunity even further to build a community in which every resident has access to good, quality housing.”
With ESD’s approval, the Kingston City Land Bank may now move forward with filing its Certificate of Incorporation, which is set to be accomplished within 60 days, and the Land Bank’s 9-member Board of Directors will be recruited and appointed. The Kingston City Land Bank is expected to be initially staffed by existing staff of the Office of Economic and Community Development, with the potential for expanded staffing resources when additional operating funding is secured. The City is actively seeking financial support for the Land Bank and expects to secure the necessary funds within the next three months.
“I am delighted to add this tool to the City’s resources to help address housing issues in our community,” said Brenna Robinson, Director of the City of Kingston’s Office of Economic and Community Development. “The Kingston City Land Bank will work to dramatically improve the city’s housing stock, providing new prospects for homeownership, adding open spaces for the community to enjoy, and renovating properties and restoring them to productive use that will provide opportunities to both increase community wealth and help to ensure current residents are able to remain here.”
The New York State Land Bank Program, signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in July 2011, permits municipalities to apply for and create land banks in their communities. Land banks are not-for-profit corporations created to take control of, and redevelop, vacant or abandoned properties to better serve the public interest. As part of the 2017-18 New York State budget, the number of land banks permitted statewide was increased to 25 from 20. To date, ESD has approved 24 land banks and will accept applications until 25 have been approved.