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Greensburg signs up for Westmoreland County land bank

| Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Greensburg is joining the list of municipalities taking part in the Westmoreland County Land Bank.

In a 5-0 vote on Monday, city council agreed to participate in the program, which seeks to find new uses for dilapidated properties.

Meeting with council last week, April Kopas, executive director of the county redevelopment authority, called the program a “proactive way to tackle slum and blight in the county.”

She wanted Greensburg, the county seat, to be among the first 10 municipalities to agree to take part in the multi-phase endeavor.

Greensburg Salem school directors agreed last week to take part, a requirement for Greensburg to be involved.

Member communities must contribute a $5,000 participation fee. The redevelopment group has added another $50,000.

Properties can be obtained through donation, mortgage foreclosure, tax sales and other means. They then will be razed, rehabilitated, leased or sold for development.

Federal and state grants, communities and foundations fund the land bank.

Participants must be willing to waive initial tax and municipal liens and realty transfer taxes. They must also share future tax revenue at 50 percent for five years with the land bank after the property is redeveloped and is taxable, according to a handout given to council.

Dilapidated properties lower neighboring property values and can pose safety hazards, Kopas said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reachedat 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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