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January 22, 2016

Oswego County Receives Approval to Proceed With Establishment of Land Bank

OSWEGO, N.Y. - The County of Oswego was informed today that the Board of Directors for New York State's Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) has approved the County's application to establish a land bank as part of their efforts to combat the decline of housing stock and housing values throughout their various communities.

New York State's Land Bank Program was signed into law by the Governor in July of 2010. Governmental entities that are approved by ESD are authorized to create a not-for-profit corporation whose purpose is to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties to productive use. Oswego County will join a very small group of proactive municipalities across New York that have chosen to use this highly effective tool to address dilapidated, distressed or marginal properties that are impairing neighborhoods and diminishing property values in otherwise healthy communities.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner said, "Those of us who live, work and raise our families here appreciate all that we have to be thankful for. However, like many other aging industrial areas, we also know that there are challenges that we face when trying to encourage others to call Oswego County their home. The quality of our neighborhoods and the housing stock in general is something that we can have some influence on. The Land Bank is the perfect tool to help us do so."

Oswego County Legislator Shane Broadwell, the lead organizer of the Oswego County Land Bank initiative said, "The growing number of abandoned properties in Oswego County is a burden on our economy that is steadily weakening our housing market. No single factor caused those abandonments, but about a year ago we identified a tool that could provide our County with solutions and we immediately sought to implement it. Today, I am thrilled to announce that New York State has approved our application to form an Oswego County Land Bank. Land banks are strengthening neighborhoods in many counties across New York State and today we join them to begin the important work of revitalizing ours."

He added, "It will take some time to officially form the not-for-profit organization and establish policies that will be the most effective for our specific local issues, but one of the first activities that the land bank will pursue will be preparing an application for additional funds to be made available to Land Banks through the NYS Attorney General's office. If approved, these funds, coupled with other resources and funding already committed by the County and the City of Oswego, will help capitalize the program and set the stage to begin to address this systemic problem."

For additional information on this exciting new initiative please contact David Turner, the County's director of Community Development, Tourism and Planning at 315-349-8260 or dturner@oswegocounty.com

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