Michigan launches largest-ever investment in eliminating blight, revitalizing communities and repurposing structures via land banks

On March 1, 2023, it was announced that Michigan‘s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, had signed a bipartisan supplemental to revitalize communities, build more affordable housing and eliminate blight.

Revitalizing our communities and reducing blight will help us grow our economy and make Michigan a more attractive place to live and work,” said Governor Whitmer.

With this bipartisan investment to demolish abandoned buildings and replace them with affordable housing, new small businesses, and other community-focused facilities, we are building more prosperous and attractive places to call home. Repurposing properties will help us build a brighter future for Michigan,” she added.

It included $75 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the demolition, stabilization, environmental remediation, and renovation of blighted industrial, commercial and residential properties.

This supplemental builds on the fiscal year 2023 budget investment to address specific blight projects in Detroit, Marquette, Ionia, Three Rivers, and numerous other projects statewide.

Taken together, this $150 million investment is the largest ever made to eliminate blight and make communities across Michigan more attractive to live and work.

Additionally, Governor Whitmer proposed a $10 million allocation in her FY 2024 budget to support land banks and local organizations partnering on residential renovation projects.

This funding contributes to Governor Whitmer’s MI New Economy Plan goal of 75,000 new construction or renovation housing units (rental and homeownership) over the next five years.

Land Banking is not just an investment in land, it’s an investment in the future prosperity of our state,” said Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

With this historic funding for blight elimination, we are not only enhancing the physical appearance of our neighborhoods, but also attracting businesses, increasing property values and ultimately creating jobs, laying the foundation for a stronger economy and a more vibrant, competitive state,” she continued.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for Round two of the Blight Elimination Program will be released by the State Land Bank in April, and the new $75 million of ARPA funds for blight elimination will roll out over the next two to three years.

The State Land Bank will administer these funds and work with dedicated local and county government officials around the state to help demolish eyesore properties, stabilize buildings poised for rehabilitation, remediate publicly owned parcels that are contaminated and renovate homes for sale.

Local land banks and communities statewide are encouraged to proactively begin the planning process to best utilize these funds and identify blighted structures and opportunities for renovation in their communities.

The State Land Bank Authority is preparing new educational and supportive training sessions to help land banks and communities explore their options in ways that will facilitate both the upcoming grant application process and make local changes to improve the community.

Partnerships within communities are a key component to bringing about change and now is the time to begin conversations between governmental entities, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies.

This stream of continuous funding is an incredible opportunity for land banks to showcase their ability to efficiently and effectively leverage public funds to make a significant and positive community impact,” said Emily Doerr, Executive Director of the State Land Bank Authority.

The State Land Bank Authority works to create a positive economic impact on Michigan communities by facilitating productive reuse of land.

They work in a coordinated manner to foster the development of property to promote and support land bank operations at the county and local levels.

Michigan State Land Bank Authority accomplishment:

  • 3,382 Blighted Structures Demolished Since 2010
  • 2,645 Properties Returned to Productive Use Since 2010
  • 2,547 Properties Managed by the State Land Bank

Photo of the abandoned Packard plant in Detroit is by Storm Cunningham.

Learn more about the SLBA’s efforts to revitalize Michigan communities by repurposing properties.

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