City Council Introduces ‘Land Bank’ Bill—Advocates See Hard Work Ahead
Today, City Council introduced its much-awaited ‘Land Bank’ bill, which would create a “quasi-public entity to hold and manage vacant land” in Philadelphia, utilizing community members, CDCs and government.
About 30 people showed up to today’s hearing in support of the bill, most of whom were members of the Coalition to Take Back Public Land. Marcus Presley, of the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (part of the coalition), who we talked to last week about the legislation, spoke with PW again after today’s hearing.
“The language that…ended up in the bill is around long-term affordability, community control and composition of the board,” he says, adding that’s exactly what the Coalition had been pushing for.
“I think there’s definitely still a lot of work to be done, but we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the bill’s sponsors to get the best possible bill passed,” he says. “We’re really happy with the direction this is going.”
Before the meeting, Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez put out a statement, reading, “The 7th councilmanic district, which I serve, has the highest concentration of blighted land. Since my election I have pushed for a comprehensive strategy for ending blight caused by vacant land, and for revitalizing our neighborhoods.”
In addition to sponsors Bill Green, Bobby Henon and Maria Quinones Sanchez, the Coalition is working with new Councilman Mark Squilla, of the First District (”the City’s best work happens in partnership with communities,” he remarked of the Land Bank idea) to put together a district meeting around the bill, for local input. We’re working to get a copy of the bill. This blog will be updated when we do.
Note: This blog has been updated to include Councilman Bobby Henon’s co-sponsorship.