Communities look to rehab abandoned properties

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ROCKFORD - South Beloit and other northern Illinois municipalities have been agreed to join an effort to revitalize abandoned properties.

Loves Park and Machesney Park were added to join members of the Northern Illinois Land Bank Authority including Rockford, Winnebago and Boone counties and Belvidere.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority created the Land Bank Capacity Program in 2017. The program allows counties and municipalities to create a land bank for the purpose of addressing blighted properties.

There are hundreds of abandoned properties in the area which have fallen into disrepair and communities have had to go to court to seize the properties and raze them as due to public health concerns.

The communities have had to take on the costs of court filines and demolition.

In South Beloit, properties have had to be taken over by the city because land owners have not paid taxes on the property or because they have been damaged by fire or other reasons.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority has provided a grant to start the local land bank.

A board of trustees will administer the local land bank.

Each of the municipalities and counties will appoint a member to the board of trustees.

Officials said future members are expected to join the effort, and any municipality can join dependent on approval from the authority.

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