WENY News - Chemung County Land Bank Begins Neighborhood Rehab in Elmira

Chemung County Land Bank Begins Neighborhood Rehab in Elmira

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The Chemung County Land Bank has set its sights on its first few projects: rehabbing two properties on Tompkins and Newtown Street and demolishing another on Clinton Street.

It's all in hopes of revamping the housing market and local economy.

"Our concentration is finding the right developer," says Mike Krusen, President of Southern Tier Economic Growth. "Finding the right person to partner with, someone who has an investment in the community and understands they have to invest in the property."

The program is being run alongside Arbor Housing.

Ultimately, the bank hopes to rehab and sell a total of ten properties and demolish another eight. 

But the process is more than just rehabbing and demolishing homes. Officials say it's just one step in what's a much larger, city-wide project.

That includes local law enforcement. 

Krusen says by enforcing stricter codes with developers, new and rehabbed properties have a lesser chance of falling back into foreclosure. 

"Often times, neighborhood deterioration results in higher crime, higher drug use, poor school results [and] bad health outcomes," says Krusen. "It's really going to take a full court effort from all different sectors."

The city is also working to develop a housing strategy. It's just another piece of what officials hope will ultimately reshape housing for tenants, land lords and local developers.

"Hopefully what's you'll see is an improvement in housing stock in the city of Elmira," says Krusen. "I think this is one big first step in turning neighborhood revitalization into downtown revitalization."

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