Today Cook County joined the more than 80 local governments in 23 states when the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to approve an ordinance to create the Cook County Land Bank Authority. It was created as an agency of the county to help return vacant and abandoned properties to productive use.
It will comprise of a 13 member board from a variety of fields, including banking, real estate and development. They will have the ability to hold the property on a tax exempt basis in order to keep down cost and erase back taxes and clear titles. The board will work with targeted municipalities on how to reuse and redevelopment vacant, foreclosed and tax delinquent parcels in Cook County.
In the following weeks Cook County President Preckwinkle will appoint members to the board, at which time they will begin the process of hiring staff, establishing policies, procedures and programs that need to be developed. Mayor Emanuel will appoint a representative to the Land Bank Authority’s board of directors. The Land Bank will be looked at as a key tool that will address the vast and growing number of vacant and abandoned properties and help to put these properties back on the tax rolls.