State senators tour Genesee County Land Bank property - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

State senators tour Genesee County Land Bank property

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GENESEE TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -

(07/17/12) - The Genesee County Land Bank's original mission was to put vacant properties back onto the tax rolls. Some state legislators visited the Flint area Tuesday to see how the system works and if the concept would be successful in other communities.

Led by Genesee County Treasurer Deb Cherry, lawmakers toured seven locations that had once been tax-foreclosed properties. They learned that in some cases, vacant land can be an used for urban agriculture, like the Harvesting Earth Learning Farm.

"I thought it would make sense for them to come down, get a tour of what we're doing and also to learn about some of the problems we're facing. There are certainly some legislation things they could do to help up out," said Deb Cherry, Genesee County Treasurer.

Two of the lawmakers once worked with Cherry in the State Senate and now are chairmen of important committees. Cherry says she wants them to see how current Land Bank legislation helps communities.

"I'm hoping that as we teach people about what's going on with the Land Bank, they're going to have better understanding of it and more helpful to us in the future," Cherry said.

The senators were impressed with the changes made to once-vacant properties like the Durant apartment complex and Flint River Farm.

"They're turning property that has sat vacant for many, many years and they're doing some good agriculture stuff, getting all the neighbors involved, getting the community involved. How do you oppose that?" said State Senator Joe Hune, (R) Livingston County.

"It really leads us to take a good hard look," said State Senator Mike Kowall (R) Oakland County.

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