Lawmaker tackles blight with land bank bill

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A southern Indiana lawmaker wants to give communities across Indiana a new tool to address abandoned houses and blight.

Republican state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany plans to introduce a bill that would allow municipalities to create land banks to sell abandoned properties for redevelopment and get them back on the tax rolls.

The Indianapolis Business Journal ( ) reports abandoned houses are an issue in communities including Indianapolis, Evansville, Elkhart, South Bend and New Albany. Indianapolis alone has roughly 15,000 abandoned and vacant houses and lots.

A key hurdle for Clere's proposal could be finding ways to fund land banks. Indianapolis has had a land bank operating since 2008, but it lacks funding and staff to strategically aid redevelopment.

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