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Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Tri-COG Land Bank Strategic Plan 2023-27

Transforming Vacant Properties in Pennsylvania

Published: March 2023


Author(s): Center for Community Progress

Since its incorporation in 2017, Tri-COG Land Bank (TCLB) has built a new model of regional land banking that transcends municipal and school district boundaries and redefines membership and partnership. Over the past five years, Tri-COG Land Bank has embraced and leveraged its unique powers provided by state legislation to intervene in the vicious cycle of vacancy, abandonment, and tax-delinquency; acquire properties causing the most harm to communities; and create homeownership and community wealth-building opportunities to reverse decades of disinvestment throughout Allegheny County. TCLB is now ready to move beyond the start-up phase by reexamining priorities, expanding programming, and partnerships, deepening relationships with residents and community leaders, and achieving greater impact in creating more equitable communities.

In August 2022, Tri-COG Land Bank engaged the Center for Community Progress to assist in preparing for this important transition by developing a strategic plan to guide Tri-COG Land Bank (TCLB)’s programmatic and operational decisions over the next five years. This plan includes:

  • Brief history of TCLB and high-level accomplishments and milestones over the last five years
  • Overview of TCLB’s unique structure, mission, vision, and purpose
  • Priorities, goals, and strategies for the next five years
  • Organizational capacity, resources, and partnerships needed to accomplish goals
  • Conclusion and recommended next steps

TCLB staff and board identified the following strategic priorities to be the focus for implementation over the next five years:

  1. Increase homeownership opportunities through home rehabilitation
  2. Support community resiliency through vacant land reclamation
  3. Update policies and practices to facilitate equitable outcomes
  4. Expand education and engagement with members, residents, and other stakeholders
  5. Elevate regional goals to effectuate needed policy changes

The technical support from Community Progress was led by Kim Graziani, Senior Technical Assistance Advisor, and Liz Kozub, Associate Director for National Technical Assistance. The information contained in this strategic plan is based on three primary sources:

  1. Review of state-enabling land bank legislation, TCLB’s business plan, policies, procedures, organizational charts, other relevant organizational documents, and regional planning and economic development reports.
  2. National scan of land banks to identify best practices and promising, locally appropriate approaches for TCLB to consider.
  3. Virtual interviews and in-person sessions with TCLB board members, staff, and partner organizations to better understand their background and interests, the land bank’s successes and challenges, and their recommendations on priorities and partnerships for the land bank moving forward (a copy of the key themes from these discussions is included in Appendix A).

In addition to these sources, Community Progress has had the privilege of working with TCLB since the land bank’s inception. We are a national authority in the field of land banking, working with most operating land banks and convening, educating, and advocating for the field through our technical assistance and the National Land Bank Network. Our goal is to bring this wealth of knowledge to the continued evolution and success of TCLB.

Published: March 2023


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