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What you need to know for 02/24/2017

Amsterdam house eyed for Land Bank program

Amsterdam house eyed for Land Bank program

Amsterdam officials are eyeing a Julia Street house as a contender for the new Land Bank program sta

Amsterdam officials are eyeing a Julia Street house as a contender for the new Land Bank program started last year with Schenectady City and County.

Situated in Amsterdam’s Fourth Ward, the residential street is one of several that offer a suburban look with well-maintained homes and lawns that extend right to the road with no sidewalk.

But since 2005, the one-story house with attached garage at 35 Julia St. has stood out — abandoned and in the hands of the city following foreclosure.

Amsterdam’s Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln said the home makes for an ideal choice for a property to be placed under the responsibility of the Land Reutilization Corp. of the Capital Region.

The three-municipality Land Bank, one of only five in the state, was created following 2011 changes in state law aimed at giving localities more tools to deal with foreclosed properties.

Von Hasseln said the idea would be for the Land Reutilization Corp. of the Capital Region to take control of the property and assume responsibility for repairs, marketing and selling it.

Proceeds would go into a Land Bank fund and directed towards similar work on other Amsterdam properties.

The city owns numerous properties and they often get purchased at auction by people unable to fix them up. Those then wind up back in the city’s possession in worse shape than before.

A project at 35 Julia St., von Hasseln said, could prevent that neighborhood from deteriorating.

“Abandoned properties become breeders for other abandoned properties,” he said.

The city’s Common Council will have to make a final decision on whether to transfer property to the Land Bank.

Fourth Ward Alderman David Dybas said he fully supports the Land Bank concept.

But he said details will be an important factor in any decision he makes and he said picking a property before precise details on the process are available is premature.

“I am a linear thinker, I start at A and progress to Z,” he said.

Dybas, who has pressed for attention to detail since elected to the Common Council, said the Julia Street property is a prime example of the downfalls of not paying attention to detail.

The one-family home hasn’t made it onto the city’s foreclosure list because its ownership was never formally transferred to the city — it’s listed under the name of the prior, foreclosed owner.

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