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New Agreement Will Expedite Land Bank Listings

Two houses for sale by Land Bank
These two houses in the 200 block of Sauk Trail were transferred to the South Suburban Land Bank in late 2021. They are no longer listed with the SSLBDA. The house on the left sold in May 2022 for $55,000. The home on the right is listed at $169,950. (Photo: John Hudzik)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The first reading of a proposed Intergovernmental Agreement with the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority (SSLBDA) occurred at the July 5 Park Forest Village Board Meeting. The agreement is designed to expedite the assignment of vacant and blighted residential properties to the Land Bank so they can be restored and placed back on the tax rolls under new ownership. The final reading will occur on August 8.

The new agreement will allow the issuance of the deeds directly to the Land Bank. Previously, the village was required to secure the deeds to abandoned properties and then transfer the deeds to the Land Bank. The new process will alleviate the village from the associated legal and maintenance expenses and expedite the overall timeline.

According to Andrew Brown, a Planner with the Park Forest Economic Development & Planning Department, in addition to expediting the deed issuance process, the new agreement complies with a new state statute dealing with abandoned properties and modifies the current process in several ways.

drawing of house with larger building in background and tree image in foreground
A new agreement should expedite Land Bank listings (Image SSLBDA)

Previously, when the Land Bank sold a property, they would reimburse the village for unpaid water bills incurred by previous owners up to a maximum of $750. Under the new agreement, no such reimbursement occurs, and the SSLBDA retains the full selling price less any realtor fees.

The new state abandonment statute identifies three criteria for a property to be considered abandoned. First, it is tax delinquent for two years or has two years of outstanding water bills. Second, it is unoccupied by persons legally in possession of the property. Finally, the property “impairs public health, safety, or welfare for the reasons specified.”

The last criterion was modified to include vacant lots and provides more flexibility when dealing with properties that may not require demolition.

The new statute also requires that a sign be posted on the property at least 30 days before the property is declared abandoned so that the owner may challenge the petition.

The village presented a list of 14 properties that meet the new criteria for abandonment that may be candidates for acquisition by the Land Bank. These properties are:

  • 41 Apple Lane
  • 370 Blackhawk Drive
  • 64 Cherry Street
  • 411 Douglas Street
  • 363 Indianwood Boulevard
  • 210 Mantua Street
  • 235 Mantua Street
  • 53 Marquette Street
  • 252 Minocqua Street
  • 255 Minocqua Street
  • 363 Minocqua Street
  • 3 Monee Court
  • 109 Peach Street
  • 131 Peach Street

Once in the hands of the Land Bank, a local realtor will be assigned, and the property will be maintained, marketed, and developed to improve the quality of life for the new residents and the surrounding neighborhood.

Currently, there are five Park Forest properties shown on the SSLBDA website:

AddressTypeStatus
334 NokomisResidentialFor Sale
223 MarquetteResidentialFor Sale
232 EarlyResidentialUnder Contract
130 Warwick AveLand 
316 Niagara St.Residential 

If all goes to plan, Brown expects the new fourteen properties under review to be added to the Land Bank once all legal requirements are met.

At the same board meeting, the village also proposed a sale of two properties secured through the Cook County No Cash Bid Scavenger Sale. The first property at 307 Meota Street was proposed for sale at a price of not less than $11,000 which would cover the expenses incurred by the village for board-up, mowing, legal acquisition fees, and anticipated legal and real estate fees when the property is sold. The second property is located at 182 Washington Street and has a proposed sale price of not less than $12,000 to cover similar expenses.

A Park Forest-based realtor is to be identified to manage the sale of both properties.

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