PARSONS, KS – A new city project could help breathe life into forgotten properties in Parsons.
They’re calling it a “land bank.”
City commissioners have just approved the formation of this project to help take on the number 1 issue in the city.
The properties are falling to pieces, but instead of saying goodbye, the city is hoping to use them for future economic development.
“Some of the houses that we have torn down over the past years could have easily been reworked with somebody with good DIY skills.” Says Leland Crooks, Landbank Board Member.
Throughout many areas, like the city of Parsons, people run into homes that have been lost to time.
“We’ll have three beautiful houses and then a vacant lot or a forgotten ownership where the house has just been sitting there for years, that’s what we’re targeting.” Says Jim Zaleski, Parsons Economic Development.
The city has launched a new land bank project.
Its goal is to help take in the dilapidated or abandoned homes and repurpose the land.
“Back taxes have accrued, fines have accrued from the city, they’ve gotten more in fines and back taxes than the property is worth, they can donate that property to the land bank, all those back taxes and fines disappear.” Says Crooks.
However, instead of just getting rid of the properties entirely, officials hope to possibly save them.
“One of the things that I want to see happen with the land bank in Parsons is that we just don’t tear these places down, that we find a way to refurb, repurpose and resell them and get homeowners in these houses.” Says Crooks.
Since the launch of the project, it’s been getting a lot of support.
“We’ve received several inquiries, of all types, people wanting to acquire land, wanting to know if the land bank owns or will acquire a certain piece of property, people have said, hey I have a piece of property and I want to donate it to the land bank, I just don’t want to care for that property anymore and you’re better suited to repurpose it.” Says Zaleski.
Turning the property into something to help elevate a neighborhood, a city, and a community.
“Somebody next door says, you know I’ll mow that, and I’ll take that piece of property and I’ll own it and I’ll pay taxes on it and you know what it’s going to be, it’s going to be the yard where my kids and my dog play.” Says Zaleski.
A board will be heading the land bank to help turn it into a self-sustaining entity.
Those members will be presented at the next city commission meeting on July 19th.