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The Kent County Board of Commissioners votes to dissolve the Kent County Land Bank

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On Thursday the Kent County Board of Commissioners voted eleven to eight to dissolve the Kent County Land Bank.  

Opinions among residents who spoke up during public comment were divided, with the majority asking the commissioners to reconsider their vote. 

“I think its short-sighted to disband this entity based on what appeared to be personnel and personal issues, and the timing and short notice are just unconscionable. The commission says that it wants to support affordable housing but your actions today don’t reflect that.” 

That is Laurie Craft from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, an organization that loaned the land bank $1 million dollars when it began in 2011.  

Siding with the board were several members of the Commercial Alliance of Realtors of West Michigan, including Charles Hoax. 

“Their ability to purchase tax foreclose properties prior to public auction is unfair practices that short circuits the concept of an open market, and may also violate the county’s duties to get the most out of tax foreclosed properties.” 

Jim Saalfeld, Chair of the Board, said the land bank was created to address blight not affordable housing. 

“This is about a program that we adopted in 2011. It did its’ job, it did well, and we promised to the citizens of Kent County at that time we would close it down when it did its job.” 

The Kent County Land Bank will have the next twelve months took get conclude all of its’ efforts. Following that, foreclosed or abandoned properties will now be available for purchase by private investors. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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