Will Cook County get a Land Bank?

According to research conducted by an advisory committee appointed by the Cook County Board President, 80 government bodies in 23 different states have a land bank.  Last month the Cook County Board President is recommending that Cook County form one too.

What is a land bank?  In this context, a typical land bank is a quasi-governmental group that buys (or receives via donation), maintains, manages and then eventually sells off properties that were otherwise serving no real purpose.  Usually the properties owned by the land bank were either foreclosed or sold at scavenger sales; often they are vacant and seldom have they been maintained.

If Cook County’s land bank is formed, the advisory committee hopes it will deal with 850 properties in its first year.  This estimate assumes that the land bank would purchase 30% of the properties with an initial $1 million start-up investment, and that 70% of the properties would be donated by banks.

The Cook County Board is considering the land bank proposal this year.