Newburgh Boasts Only City Land Bank in New York State


August 1, 2012

Newburgh - The Newburgh Community Land Bank (NCLB) has recently incorporated, readying it to begin helping the residents of Newburgh. The NCLB is the only Land Bank in New York State authorized to a city exclusively. Under its designation, The City of Newburgh has the authority to buy abandoned homes for a negotiated low price. Upon acquiring the buildings, they will either be renovated or torn down, depending on the state of ruination, helping to alleviate the high property taxes currently burdening city homeowners. Under the leadership of Michael J. Vatter, Esq., NCLB Chair, and the Board of trustees, the NCLB hopes to acquire its first property in late August. 

Image above: An abandoned home sits neglected on Liberty Street.

“The incorporating of the Newburgh Community Land Back was made possible by New York State Senator William J. Larkin Jr., Congressman Maurice Hinchey and New York State Assemblyman Frank Skartados,” said Mr. Vatter. “These individuals along with many others were instrumental with the passing of the legislation. We can now begin to help the residents of the City of Newburgh and alleviate some of the property tax burdens they are currently facing.” 

Contemporary urban land banks formed in response to a large number of tax-delinquent properties and widespread property abandonment in cities experiencing a loss of industrial jobs, such as St. Louis, Missouri and Cleveland, Ohio. The success of these early Land Banks helped pave the way for municipalities to seek similar solutions. 

Abandoned properties depress the surrounding area homes, discourage property ownership and attract criminal activity. The NCLB will act as a tool to quickly turn these abandoned homes into usable parcels that reinvest in the long-term vision for city. This will provide an opportunity to promote economic development, improve tax revenue, remove public nuisances, expand housing and assist with crime prevention. The primary areas of focus will be a target area generally bounded to the North by South Street, to the West by Route 9W, to the South by Broadway, and to the East by the Waterfront.