Albany County officials have filed an application with Empire State Development to establish the Albany County Land Bank, designed to address blight in the county.
The land bank will initially focus on the city of Albany because of the city’s concentrations of vacant and abandoned downtown properties. The county has committed $1 million over the next two years to fund the startup, and regional economic development funding and other revenue sources will be explored.
“The county is working with our partners to address the issue of blight in a proactive way,” Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said in a statement Tuesday. “This is just the beginning, as we will work to improve our neighborhoods, reduce crime and make our county a leader in bringing our community back.”
The land bank is designed to serve several purposes, including providing coordination for nonprofits; getting properties back on the tax rolls; demolishing vacant buildings, and attracting commercial development by creating neighborhood-based markets.
McCoy said the city includes significant areas of vacant and abandoned property that are contiguous to downtown — about 375 properties, including those owned by the county, the city of Albany and the Albany Community Development Agency.