SCRANTON —A major step forward in the Lackawanna County Land Bank was made Dec. 11 with the initial organizational meeting of its directors.
The land bank was created June 17 by Lackawanna County Commissioners via the passage of Ordinance 239. The kick-off meeting is the first step of becoming fully operational. Draft bylaws were reviewed, policies and procedures discussed, priorities identified and officers elected to move the organization forward. Funding and sustainability will be a priority to ensure the start-up and ongoing success of this effort.
The overriding goal of the land bank is to deter blight by using available resources to facilitate the return of vacant, blighted, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties to productive use.
The seven land bank board members are Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley; Linda B. Aebli, executive director of the City of Scranton’s Office of Economic and Community Development; Henry E. Deeke, Jr., real estate broker and appraiser; Marion E. Gatto, past secretary, treasurer and president of the Greater Scranton Board of Realtors; George Kelly, director of planning and economic development for Lackawanna County; Terrence McDonnell, Dunmore Zoning Board; and Steven Pitoniak, transportation planning manager for Lackawanna County.
The group’s initial focus will be to identify municipalities that will benefit from participating in the land bank and have them join via an intergovernmental cooperation agreement. The land bank will hold community information and outreach sessions to discuss the benefits of a land bank and to verify the priorities and direction meet the needs of the communities.
Information provided by Lackawanna County Communications.