SPRINGFIELD — Cities and counties would have a streamlined process to address vacant homes under two new measures sponsored by state Sen.Steve Stadelman. D-Rockford.
Senate bills 2052 and 2097 implement recommendations made by the Illinois Community Revitalization Task Force, a panel created to help reduce blighted properties and revitalize communities throughout Illinois.
“Blighted properties don’t just affect one or two neighbors, they can have a ripple effect on an entire block,” Stadelman said. “Getting our cities and counties the tools they need to fight this problem is the first step to rehabilitating our neighborhoods.
Stadelman partnered with Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and the Illinois Housing Development Authority to work on a legislative fix that helps communities.
“Sen. Stadelman recognizes the impact that foreclosures have had in Rockford, and I appreciate all of his work in Springfield to help mitigate this issue, which has made it difficult for many of our homeowners to recover from the economic downtown,” McNamara said.
“My administration has taken aggressive action to strengthen our neighborhoods, including working with the city council to develop a vacant property registry and a land bank. Both these will reduce the impact of blighted and abandoned homes. And we will continue advocating for state-wide legislative tools that can help us in this work.”
Audra Hamernik, executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, said local governments need more tools for dealing with vacant properties.
“When confronted with abandoned and deteriorating homes, it is often local governments that bear the cost of maintaining, administering and demolishing these properties,” Hamernik said. “This urban blight is siphoning off critical resources from other programs vital to these communities. I applaud Senator Stadelman’s leadership in identifying real solutions as to how the state can better advocate for neighborhood revitalization, ensuring Illinois’ cities and towns become safer and more stable.”
Senate Bill 2052 allows municipalities to transfer government-owned properties to a county or intergovernmental agency without triggering the formal statutory process that is imposed on non-home rule municipalities.
Senate Bill 2097 gives counties authority to purchase blighted properties to renovate them for resale to revitalize neighborhoods. The legislation also allows counties to keep the profits of the sale in order to renovate more homes.
Both measures passed out of committee this week and now head the Senate floor for a vote. R.