Rebuilding Tarnished Properties

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Omaha’s Municipal Land Bank is designed to help deal with problem properties by giving the city the ability to redevelop neighborhoods. But the process of getting properties on the Land Bank's list remains unclear.

You can find them in almost every neighborhood in every part of town. They are vacant, run down and dangerous properties.

One in North Omaha is overgrown with vegetation and neighbors say it's been like that for about six years.

Teresa Robinson said, “People have gone in and ransacked it. Kids are in and out of it and it’s just a danger to the neighborhood. I’m surprised the house hasn’t caught on fire.”

Teresa hopes the city’s new land bank program will help eliminate run down, beat up homes. She's excited about the city stepping in and taking over neighborhood eyesores and hopefully building something new.

“We try to keep the neighborhood nice but with that there’s no way.”

But there are others who oppose the idea of the city buying up old run down properties and getting into the real estate business. They say the land bank gives the city an advantage over private business and developers.

Doug Kagan, with Taxpayers for Freedom, said, “The land banks can obtain these properties and they don’t have to pay any back taxes on the property that can go back several years. And they also don’t have to pay any liens on the property.”

Teresa has had to look at her neighborhood eyesore for years and so far no one, public or private, has come to her aid. She’s hoping this new program will bring help.

The city’s land bank board was just appointed by the mayor. Now the board members must be approved by the city council.

Each member of the Land Bank Board of Directors represents one of the seven city council districts.

Right now, if you want to complain about a property, you can contact City Code Enforcement.