St. Louis Puts Renewed Effort Into Vacant Properties
"St. Louis has the distinction of having the oldest land bank in the country, created by a Missouri state statute in 1971," according to an article by Maria Altman. "It was a response to St. Louis’ quickly shrinking population after reaching a height of 856,000 people in 1950." These days, the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) owns more than 11,000 parcelts in the city of St. Louis.
In addition to explaining the larger and ongoing project of the LRA, Altman describes some of the "renewed focus on what to do with all the vacant land LRA controls." That renewed focus includes a Vacant Land and Blight Task Force several months again that includes both public and private stakeholders.
Altman also reports that Mayor Francis Slay in May announced a "Mow to Own" program that allows residents can now buy [a] vacant lot for $125 and some sweat equity." The program not only encourages residents to maintain vacant lots, it also brings in revenue through title transfer fees and property taxes. The article includes three more examples of projects by the LRA to help manage and improve the city's vacant properties.