Danville city leaders prepare to vote on money for landbank

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Take a look downtown and you'll see new businesses and a lot of growth.
Drive a few streets over, its a much different sight.

"We want to have strong, safe neighborhoods and that helps us achieve that," said vice mayor, Lee Vogler.

The answer: Land Banks.

"The goal of a land bank is to acquire vacant and abandoned properties that as a result have blighted neighborhoods and made them unattractive," said Ernecia Coles, Executive Director of Danville Neighborhood Development Cooperation.

So that's what the city has been working on: for a while.

In 2016, the general assembly passed legislation which allows localities more leeway in gaining control of the properties named.

Right now that list is up to around 250.

"You know the goal is not to make a lot of money, the goal is to just allow it to be sustainable so that they can do some work on other properties to keep this going. Ultimately it's just about getting them back in the hands of the private sector," said Vogler.

Which is why the Danville Neighborhood Development cooperation started.

Ernecia Coles is the director and is working to educate residents about land banks.

"Its a new concept here in Virginia. There may be just concern over how are you going to acquire these properties and may be concerned over land rights," said Coles.

The bottom line: a landbank is meant to help with revitalization getting rid of some of these no trespassing signs and hopefully putting up some "for sale" signs.