Over the past several years, as the housing market declined and the number of foreclosures increased, cities and counties throughout the nation began establishing land banks. Faced with a growing number of vacant and abandoned properties, local governments sought new ways to return those properties to productive use. In Kansas City, the pursuit of a land bank began in 2010.
Although legislation pertaining to the establishment of a land bank was voted down twice by the Missouri General Assembly (2010 and 2011), stakeholders were not deterred. With assistance from the Center for Community Progress*, new legislation was drafted and then adopted in 2012. Shortly thereafter, the Land Bank of Kansas City, Missouri was established.
Using the successful models of land banks in Genesee County, Michigan and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the commissioners and staff of the Land Bank of Kansas City, Missouri have implemented a system that returns vacant properties to productive use, places them back on the tax rolls, and contributes to the improvement of the community.
* A national organization dedicated to helping cities, towns, states and regions across the United States reintegrate vacant, abandoned and blighted properties into the economic and civic life of their communities.