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Incubating Land Bank Discussions

In December 2021, AdkAction began its Land Bank Incubator Project, designed to convene conversation and shared learning among local leaders on land banks as a  tool to address the shortage of affordable housing in the Adirondack Park. 

Land banks exist to acquire, manage, maintain, and repurpose properties in a manner consistent with a communities’ values and needs. As the New York State Land Banks report states, “most land banks have unique powers, granted by state enabling legislation, that enable them to undertake these activities more effectively and efficiently than other public or nonprofit entities. When thoughtfully executed, land banking can resolve some of the toughest barriers to returning land to productive use, helping to unlock the value of problem properties and convert them into assets for community revitalization.”

There are 26 land banks found throughout New York State, from Buffalo to Long Island, but none in the Adirondacks – yet. 

Over the first half of 2022, this regional working group, composed of interested municipal and county, planning, and nonprofit leaders from Essex, Clinton, Franklin, and Warren counties,, met to study this tool. These leaders are discussing its potential here in the Adirondacks, and considering opportunities for both collaborative and independent implementation. What’s unique about the Land Bank Incubator Project is that it’s truly that –an incubator. By fostering a community of learning and practice as a third party, AdkAction and its steering committee of interested peers is working to open the door to new insights, possibilities, and partnerships, while allowing these conversations to unfold openly in all their complexity.

Over the course of two roundtable sessions this winter and spring, visiting experts like Tolga Morawski of the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank and Katelyn Wright of the Greater Syracuse Land Bank joined the discussion with attendees from over 19 towns, counties, organizations, and agencies. 

The final Land Bank Roundtable will take place later this month in-person in Lake Placid. We look forward to continuing the conversation on land banks and how we can support a sustained environment for collaboration around housing solutions. Above all, we are striving to make the Adirondacks a place where all people can afford to live, work, and play. 

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