By Amy Leffingwell—
Muncie, IN— Since March of 2021, 27 of 39 properties held by the Muncie Land Bank have been successfully sold to local Muncie residents.
With a growing number of properties left vacant due to blight and demolished dilapidated houses, along with a difficult to maneuver tax sale system, the Muncie Land Bank was established in July of 2017. By November of that year, the State of Indiana incorporated the Muncie Land Bank. In October of 2018, Ball Brothers Foundation awarded the land bank funds to hire a consultant to help the organization get up and running. The City of Muncie’s Economic Development Income Tax fund awarded funds to acquire, maintain, and market vacant properties in April of 2019. The Muncie Land Bank had its first completed public auction in March of this year.
“I tried to buy this property (adjacent to my son’s house) when it was up for the tax sale,” said land bank property owner Caroline Stillwell. “It was such a complicated process that I eventually gave up. The Muncie Land Bank made it much easier for me to purchase this lot. The bidding process was very easy for me to figure out online and the staff was incredibly helpful when I had questions,” she said.
Land bank properties are also eligible to be donated to local non-profits. All properties, no matter the potential acquiree, must meet certain guidelines before they are retitled. A specific reason for buying the land and plans for the properties must be submitted to the land bank for consideration. Also, local community members are prioritized as potential owners.
“Working with the Muncie Land Bank has been a valuable, affordable, and easy process,” said Andrew Draper of Urban Light Community Church. “We are glad that this exciting non-profit exists to facilitate positive development in our community.” Draper explained that he is working to open a social service hub and men’s recovery home behind the church building.
About the Muncie Land Bank
The mission of the Muncie Land Bank, Inc., is to acquire abandoned and blighted property, preserve it, and provide it to the public for strategic redevelopment. For more information, as well as a list of available properties, visit muncielandbank.org.