Erie County, Land Bank, Village of Depew Partner to Fight Blight

Modified: September 5, 2017 9:31am

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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by members of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation (“Land Bank”), representatives from the Village of Depew, the office of NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and the Depew-Lancaster Boys and Girls Club at 511 Terrace Blvd. in Depew to announce the long-vacant property’s imminent demolition and the parcel’s conversion into green space for the Boys and Girls Club.

“Neighbors of 511 Terrace Blvd. have watched as this property slid into foreclosure and quietly deteriorated, putting an unsightly blemish on the neighborhood. Today we are seeing addition by subtraction as this eyesore is removed, taking away that blemish and creating new green space for the busy Boys and Girls Club next door,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “It is another demonstration of the good work the Land Bank is doing, working across municipalities to address vacant and dilapidated properties and make neighborhoods whole again.”

The Land Bank, through a grant from NYS Attorney General Schneiderman’s office, will reimburse the Village of Depew for the cost of demolition, with the Land Bank taking title to the property at the upcoming county foreclosure auction. After taking title, the Land Bank through a negotiated sale will transfer the vacant lot to the neighboring Boys and Girls Club, which will landscape and beautify the parcel to add green space to their facility next door.

“Land banks are a powerful tool to help communities like the Village of Depew rid their streets of vacant properties that drag down home values,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “After securing settlements with the nation’s largest banks over misconduct that contributed to the housing crisis, my office has invested more than $57 million in land banks across New York State since 2013. I commend County Executive Poloncarz and the BENLIC for partnering with the Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club to turn an eyesore into green space that neighbors can enjoy.”

Land Bank Executive Director Jocelyn Gordon said, “This is a significant step for the Village of Depew and will be a big change here at the corner of Terrace Blvd. The overgrown vegetation and crumbling house that people had become accustomed to will be replaced by an open and inviting green area, just steps away from the Boys and Girls Club. An action like this has a tremendous rejuvenating effect on the neighborhood and I thank our partners for their help in getting this done.”

Depew Village Mayor Jesse Nikonowicz added, “The Village is happy to continue to work with the county and the Land Bank to alleviate distressed properties throughout the Village of Depew. This is another example of inter-municipal co-operation. David Hoch, Executive Director of the Depew-Lancaster Boys and Girls Club, added, “The Boys and Girls club is looking forward to having green space where our members can play games outside in the good weather, I would like to thank the State, County, the Land Bank and Village officials for their efforts.”

The house at 511 Terrace Blvd. had stood vacant since 2012; when the bank stopped paying taxes on it, the county was able to move it to the foreclosure process and prevent it from becoming a “zombie property”.

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