Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle addresses the crowd at the land bank workshop.
On Wednesday, July 24, The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) hosted a workshop entitled “Doing Business with Cook County’s Land Banks.” The objective of the workshop was to demystify The Cook County Land Bank Authority and the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority for some of their potential users, including community development corporations, developers and investors. MPC invited regional experts to provide an introduction to researching property, determining project feasibility and financing transactions with each of Cook County’s land banks. The executive directors for The Cook County Land Bank Authority and The South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority engaged more than 180 attendees.
At the workshop (which they sponsored), The PrivateBank announced a pledge of $10 million in private funding for acquisition and rehabilitation of distressed homes.
Since 2009, MPC has been working to support revitalization and economic development strategies in hard-hit communities across the region. MPC spearheaded the formation of the Chicago Southland Housing and Community Development Collaborative, a group of 23 municipalities that are testing collaborative strategies to spark neighborhood stabilization across the south suburbs. One significant achievement of such efforts is the creation of the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority, which has acquired over eight properties in the last year.
MPC expanded our land banking advocacy in 2012, when Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle invited MPC President MarySue Barrett to spearhead the Cook County Land Bank Advisory Committee. The process leading up to the creation of the Cook County Land Bank ordinance engaged more than 100 key stakeholders, experts and leaders to help shape the ordinance and eventual land bank. Building on this momentum, the Cook County and South Suburban land banks attracted $6 million in start-up funds from the Attorney General’s National Foreclosure Settlement Awards.MPC continues to support the region’s two land banks by providing organizational insight and input and recommendations on land bank strategies, particularly around land acquisition, disposition and research.
The workshop was a testament to the objectives of The Cook County Land Bank Authority and South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority: They want land bank users to be informed about policies and resources while thinking creatively about how to address a variety of community needs. Based on the results from a follow-up evaluation survey, the event succeeded in reaching this goal. With a wealth of regional experts, financial support from The PrivateBank and positive feedback from potential users, both the Cook County and South Suburban land banks are poised to make significant impact in the Chicago region.
For more information on the workshop, including panelists, see the event page.