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August 6, 2020

Hartford Land Bank seeks to acquire 7 properties from city

HBJ Photo | Sean Teehan Hartford Land Bank Executive Director Laura Settlemyer aims to get blighted properties into good hands.

The Hartford Land Bank is seeking the city council's blessing for what would be the first major transfer of property from the city to the nonprofit.

Hartford's City Council on Monday will vote on whether to approve the transfer of seven properties -- five of them acquired in a deed sale last year -- to the Land Bank, which plans to partner with local developers to renovate the vacant residential real estate.

"This is the first step in the process with the Land Bank helping both the city and community deal with these long-vacant, abandoned properties," Laura Settlemyer, the Land Bank's executive director, said Thursday.

[Read more: Settlemyer aims to turn Hartford’s eyesore properties into neighborhood assets]

Land banks are designed to simplify the process of getting property that has been abandoned or seized by a city — for nonpayment of taxes, or other issues — into the hands of responsible, usually nonprofit, owners. Land banks can be established as nonprofits or departments within a municipality, but in either setup the city grants it special powers to acquire property without jumping through the onerous hoops often required. 

The Hartford Land Bank was officially registered as a nonprofit in 2017. Settlemyer became the nonprofit's inaugural executive director last year, after a three-year stint as Hartford’s director of blight remediation.

In a letter to council members, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he supported the transfer.

"These properties were identified in partnership with Hartford Land Bank," Bronin wrote. "I respectfully recommend adoption of the proposed resolution."

Properties Hartford Land Bank would acquire if the transfer is approved include:

  • 61 Charlotte St.
  • 128 Edgewood St.'
  • 471 Garden St.
  • 196 Homestead Ave.
  • 78 Martin St.
  • 59 Magnolia St.
  • 103 Earle St.

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