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State

Cook County land bank aimed at ending blight

CHICAGO — Cook County has a new tool to help return vacant and abandoned properties to the tax rolls.

The Cook County Board voted unanimously to create the Cook County Land Bank Authority. The agency will promote redevelopment of vacant, foreclosed and tax-delinquent properties.

In a press release, Board President Toni Preckwinkle says land banks have been effective tools to combat the foreclosure crisis in other communities. She says more than 80 local governments in 23 states have land banks.

Cook County's land bank will be overseen by a 13-member board. Members will have experience in banking, real estate and development.

The land back will be able to hold property on a tax-exempt basis to eliminate back taxes and clear title. It will use a mix of county money, grants and donations.

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