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State representative drafts Land Bank bill to improve neighborhoods

9th District State Representative Sheila Solon wants to create a land bank bill to improve neighborhoods.

Posted: Feb 7, 2019 6:38 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 11:46 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The city-wide issue of abandoned homes is now being heard in Jefferson City. 

9th District State Representative Sheila Solon wants to rid the city of St. Joseph of these abandoned properties. 

"These are properties that nobody wants, and nobody is buying," Solon said.  "They are staying vacant and remaining vacant."

Solon says there are 478 properties spread out across the city that are abandoned, properties that leave negative effects on the community.

"When you have abandoned properties on a block, it makes people feel unsafe," Solon said.

Solon has introduced legislation to start a land bank, she said its an effort backed by the city mayor, Chamber of Commerce and residents who want to see the city look better.

"To be able to turn those around and get those properties in the hands of responsible ownership, that’s the key to land bank success." Isobel McGowan, owner of the Shakespeare Chateau said.

McGowan sees the advantage of the plan for the city.

"I think the biggest benefit is going to be taking under control some of the properties that have been problematic in our older and historic neighborhoods," McGowan said. 

Solon said her land bank bill will provide information for the city and prospective buyers of these properties.

Another bill Solon is proposing will help to provide transparency for the city, as many of the abandoned properties can’t be tracked down to an owner.

"This is gonna help the city locate these owners so that the taxpayers no longer have to pay for the mowing and the upkeep of these properties," Solon said. 

Solon’s goal to improve St. Joseph neighborhoods

"That’s really what we’re talking about is neighborhood revitalization," McGowan said. 

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A strong cold front has pushed through northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. For tonight, we'll see clear skies as overnight lows drop down to the middle 50s. We could wake up to some foggy conditions on Monday morning, but it will be a sunny & nice day for the first day of fall.
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