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Wayne County Land Bank Practicum Project (2022)

Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Project - 2022

Authors: Dr. Kotval and Dr. Jake Parcell

Summary

The Wayne County Land Bank Corporation was formed in 2006 through an agreement between the Wayne County Treasurer and the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority. The mission of the Land Bank is to return tax-foreclosed and abandoned properties to productive use, contribute tax revenue to Wayne County, and promote community rehabilitation across its municipalities. In this project, The Wayne County Land Bank (WCLB) will work with a research partner to identify opportunities to expand WCLB programs and strengthen the positive presence of the organization in key neighborhoods throughout Wayne County. The results of this research will help create strategies for the WCLB to return vacant and abandoned property to productive use. Ideally, the research will uncover which of the existing WCLB are the strongest programs based on how they address community needs, the number of properties returned to productive use, and how well it fits the WCLB’s mission. Utilizing these strategies, the WCLB will be able to influence the future direction of the disposition and rehabilitation programs to better serve our communities. The plan will also identify target areas for the WCLB to address in future years to help the communities who need the most assistance.  

The WCLB also wishes to introduce a new generation of planners to the policies, benefits, and intricacies of working with Land Banks; and, to help usher in a new group of professionals to advocate for the positive benefits that land banking can achieve in our communities. Ultimately the WCLB is working to develop a strategic plan that explores the past successes of the WCLB programs and identifies opportunities to expand these programs to new geographies to increase their impact based on policy-oriented and data-based solutions. This includes analyzing the existing property condition and sales data from the past 5 years and seeing which programs have had the most success in Wayne County thus far. Using this data, the practicum team will forecast which programs are anticipated to have the greatest success in rehabbing and disposing of properties as the County works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this project, the WCLB would also like the team to create neighborhood maps showing property conditions and areas where the WCLB has been.