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Land Banks: A Solution For Vacant & Abandoned Homes?

KC Momentum

Kansas City has a problem with vacant homes. 12,000 of them dot neighborhoods around town. Legislation that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed this year is designed to provide a new solution: a land bank.

In the second half of Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Frank S. Alexander, a law professor at Emory University and David Park, director of Kansas City's Department of Neighborhood and Community Services about why cities big and small -- have created land banks, which would allow the city to acquire unwanted properties, fix them up to sell with the hopes that they can be put back on the tax rolls, or demolish them, possibly to create community gardens or parks.

Frank S. Alexander is the Sam Nunn Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, where he serves as Director of the Project on Affordable Housing and Community Development. He was the co-founder of Community Progress and continues to serve as a senior advisor. He is the author or editor of eight books and over forty articles in real estate finance, law and theology, and community redevelopment, including GEORGIA REAL ESTATE FINANCE AND FORECLOSURE LAW 2011-2012 and LAND BANKS AND LAND BANKING (2011). Professor Alexander’s work has focused on homelessness and affordable housing, serving as a Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University (1993-96), and as a Commissioner of the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless (1994-1998). He has served as Interim Dean of Emory University School of Law (2005-2006), as Visiting Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University (Fall Semester, 2007), and has testified before Congress concerning the mortgage foreclosure crisis (May, 2008, November, 2009). Professor Alexander received both a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1978, and holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina.

Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC and chief of broadcast operations for KCUR 89.3 and 91.9 Classical KC. You can email him at stephen@kcur.org.
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.