The Chemung County Property Development Corporation’s mission is “To acquire and return vacant, abandoned, and/or tax delinquent properties within the City of Elmira and Chemung County to uses that support community revitalization, sustained economic development and improvement of the financial condition of the City and County.”
Since 1980 the City of Elmira has experienced the highest levels of poverty incidence, residential property vacancy, neighborhood blight, and general economic distress within Chemung County. Census data reveals that between 1970 and 2000 the City’s resident population decreased by 22.5%; between 2000 and 2013 the City’s population decreased by an additional 5.7%. Currently 53% of all tax delinquent properties located within Chemung County are located in the City of Elmira. Based upon the American Community Survey’s estimates (2010-2014), 1,180 of the City’s 12,000 existing housing units are vacant. Per American Fact Finder there are approximately 4,752 multi-family rental units that hold between 2-9 units within the City of Elmira. Many of the structures within the City were built before 1939 (7,997) and no new structures have been built since 2013. This indicates a large number of older homes exist within the City of Elmira.
In July of 2016 the Chemung County Property Development Corporation (“CCPDC”) was established by the Chemung County Legislature. The driving mission of the Corporation was to acquire and return vacant, abandoned, and/or tax delinquent properties within the City of Elmira and Chemung County to uses that support community revitalization and help sustain economic development, the corporation set out to identify properties that met this goal. Along with receiving Land Bank Funding, in 2016 the City of Elmira received $10 million dollars in downtown revitalization funds with a portion of these funds designated towards neighborhood revitalization. In 2017 the City was awarded an additional $325,000 from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (“ESPRI). ESPRI, partnered with the Land Bank to identify multifamily units within census tracts 6, 7, and 10 so that the multi family structures that are currently deteriorating within the City could be restored and provide safe, affordable, energy efficient housing to those most in need. The City is also evaluating vacant/zombie properties by utilizing Vacant Properties Remediation and Prevention initiative. The City of Elmira’s revitilation strategy includes the elimination of scattered blight and pockets of poverty within and surrounding the City’s downtown core area, coupled with the strengthening of public incentives for high-quality private redevelopment of properties and stabilization of property values. The role of the Land Bank is to ensure this work is carried out.
The CCPDC used 2017 to strategize on ways to be most impactful with Land Bank resources. The Land Bank hired Arbor Housing and Development to administer the program. In 2018 and 2019 CCPDC will tackle the selected homes by either renovating vacant properties or demolishing uninhabitable properties. The Land Bank’s goal is to rehab and sell approximately 10 vacant and foreclosed properties and demolish approximately 8 vacant and foreclosed properties. CCPDC evaluates each selected home to determine the best course of action, whether it be rehabilitated or demolished. Arbor is responsible for conducting environmental reviews, write specs for rehabbed properties, send construction work out to bid and monitor the progress of each property.
CCPDC expects to see neighborhood revitalization and stabilization, strengthening of homeownership opportunities for the economically disadvantaged, a creation of high quality mixed-income rental housing by developers with proven development experience, return of properties to productive tax-pay status, including encouragement of neighbor purchases of vacant adjacent parcels to enlarge lot size, and land assemblage to facilitate economic development projects benefiting targeted downtown sites.