Earlier this year a ranch home renovated in the 3500 block of Centerfield Street of Susquehanna Township – the Land Bank’s first project – was sold to a family for $120,000.
“With the removal of these vacant duplexes and the construction of five new homes, we are not only improving this site but the entire neighborhood,” said commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “We created the Land Bank to help municipalities preserve neighborhoods by fighting blight.”
The five new homes in the Tuscarora Street neighborhood, across Front Street from the Susquehanna River, will feature rear decks with river views. Construction on the three-bedroom homes is expected to begin in December and they are anticipated to sell from $122,000 to $129,000. Building the homes will be Marysville-based B.S. Smith Services, Inc. and Smith Homes Inc.
“The Land Bank provides the money to tackle problem properties that municipalities would not be able to afford to improve on their own,” said Commissioner Mike Pries. “Not only does the Land Bank help keep neighborhoods intact, these projects help everyone by returning these properties to the tax rolls.”
The commissioners were the first to take advantage of a state law passed in 2013 allowing counties and municipalities to create land bank authorities dedicated to working with municipalities and school districts to buy, repair and sell vacant residential and commercial properties. Once restored, the properties can be returned to the property tax rolls and become assets once again to the community.
“For most of us, our home is our biggest investment,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “This board is committed to making our communities better and the Land Bank is helping us achieve that goal.”
To start the Dauphin County Land Bank, the commissioners used $250,000 in gaming money. Ongoing funding for the land bank will come through the sale of the restored homes or businesses and agreements between the county and host municipalities and school districts to give half of the post-sale property taxes to the land bank for five years.
To learn more about the Dauphin County Land Bank, go to www.dauphincounty.org/government/community-economic-development/land-bank-authority or call the county’s Department of Community and Economic Development at 717-780-6250.