Evansville Courier and Press (Published as THE EVANSVILLE COURIER) - April 10, 1957 Page: 1, 13
Evansville Courier & Press (IN) - June 12, 2016
Author/Byline: Thomas B. Langhorne Edition: A Section: Local Page: 1A
Possibly because the numbers stretch into seven digits, Evansville city officials haven’t talked much about the long-range cost of their plan for a blight-fighting land bank.
The prospective cost of the war on housing blight is plain enough — up to $8 million through 2019, the end of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s second term. But that money — and the land bank program itself — has to be sold to the City Council year-by-year as Winnecke administration officials seek allotments of up to $2 million in each year. The city budget, after all, is done on an annual basis.
The program has strong supporters on City Council who are open to funding it year after year, assuming it is doing what city officials say it will do.
“I feel it’s critical to the health of our city,” said Republican at-large Councilwoman Michelle Mercer.
Democrat Missy Mosby, president of the council, said one year won’t cut it.
“I think this is something we have to do for the city. It’s a quality-of-life issue,” Mosby said.
The land bank, intended as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization administered by the city Department of Metropolitan Development, would acquire vacant and blighted structures, demolish them and market the land for new development to get it back on tax rolls. If City Council members believe the program deserves renewal, that could plunge Evansville into an intense, years-long demolition campaign that ultimately could take down as many as 2,000 vacant and blighted structures.