OUR FOCUS

The Waterbury Land Bank identifies property that can be acquired, stabilized, and repurposed, to help improve quality of life for people in our proud and growing City. Featuring activities that help catalyze neighborhood improvement, reduce conditions of blight, and advance existing community improvement plans – Owner occupancy is the priority of the Waterbury Land Bank. 

WHAT IS A LAND BANK?
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Contrary to what the name would suggest, land banks are not conventional "banks" or financial institutions. Land banks are public, or not-for-profit, or community-owned, entities that are created to acquire, manage, maintain, or repurpose vacant, abandoned, or foreclosed properties.

What Is a Land Bank?

Land banks are public authorities or non-profit organizations created to acquire, hold, manage, and occasionally redevelop property to return the land to productive use which addresses the needs of a community. This allows for community goals to be met, promotes economic development, increases affordable housing or stabilized housing opportunities, and increases real property values.

When Did Land Banking Develop?

Land banking developed in the U.S. in the early 1920s and 1930s as a way of making low-priced land available for housing and ensuring orderly development. Following the period of deindustrialization in the U.S., there was a wave of suburbanization. This left many American cities with increasingly large numbers of vacant, blighted property. These abandoned properties caused many problems for local communities, including fire and safety hazards, and so municipalities turned to banking as a way to acquire vacant land and put it back to productive use.

What Can a Land Bank Do?

A land bank can sell or acquire property, and utilize land in a way that reflects a community’s priorities.

How Does Land Banking Help Cities?

Land banks can help convert distressed neighborhoods or problem areas and properties in cities into positive areas of economic development. They maintain, develop, demolish, or sell the land to ensure it is utilized to its maximum ability.
 
For more information on Land Banking, please visit the Center for Community Progress and then add a link to Center for Community Progress.

Land Bank Frequently Asked Questions

OUR MISSION

“To strengthen neighborhoods by returning distressed property to productive use, promoting economic development, increasing real property values, and improving the quality of life for Waterbury residents” is contingent upon our basic core values.

*Waterbury Land Bank is a not for profit 501c3 organization.

History

2023

Strategic Planning initiated by the Waterbury Land Bank Authority with use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping and use of re-designed EPropertyPlus (EPP) software.

WLB hired John Ewing in April 2023 as our Planner/Real Estate Analyst.

Condition Assessment program is completed in August 2023 with the WLB performing sidewalk inspections of over 200 properties. Grant for this program was provided by the Liberty Bank Foundation.

Ten (10) surplus properties acquired by the WLB from the City of Waterbury in October 2023. Disposition of properties underway. Side Lot Program launched. Two properties improved with residential houses on the market for sale. Applications to bid on purchase properties being accepted, and ranked by WLB.

2022

The Waterbury Land Bank (WLB) Board of Directors perform a regional search for the first Executive Director for the Waterbury Land Bank Authority. In July 2022, Nancy M. MacMillan was selected as their Executive Director.

In October 2022, WLB offices were established at 207-231 Bank Street in Waterbury. Located on the 3rd floor, the WLB office is part of the Buckingham Place historic district.

2021

Waterbury announces ordinance authorizing creation of the Waterbury Land Bank Authority with the initial slate of directors. A Certificate of Incorporation and bylaws are also drafted, aligning closely with state law, in preparation for forming the Waterbury Land Bank.

2021

In 2021, a study was conducted by the Center for Community Progress regarding the land-related opportunities in Waterbury.

Findings of the report included the recommendation for the City to create a Land Bank.

2019

In the summer of 2019, the City of Waterbury lobbied the Connecticut legislature – with HB 7277, An Act Concerning the Creation of Land Bank Authorities, being signed into law by Governor Lamont.

After becoming law, Dan Pesce, Captain Lauer, the Harold Webster Smith Foundation, and Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary visited Newburgh, New York, to meet with their land bank staff and to examine the success that they have had.

2019

Concurrently, a collection of over 30,000 parcels were surveyed, leading to the creation of a database dedicated to the number and condition of residential properties in Waterbury.

With momentum building, the first step in establishing the Waterbury Land Bank was the creation of land
bank legislation.

2019

Through the recommendation endorsement, and subsequent support, by the Harold Webster Smith Foundation, Jim Smith, and Cathy Smith, the City of Waterbury hired Dan Pesce as Community Development Planner in 2019.

Pesce worked with community groups and the Waterbury Neighborhood Council to assess needs and streamline blight remediation efforts.

2018

The Waterbury Land Bank Advisory Committee forms to organize the Waterbury Land Bank as a quasi-municipal government body. Progress is made to develop a memorandum of understanding, process documents, and related operational materials.

City staff and volunteers conduct a housing conditions assessment to identify and begin prioritizing interventions on residential buildings in Waterbury. Data is gathered, mapped, and stored in a software system purchased to support the land bank.

2018

The Connecticut Blight Remediation Coalition begins meeting to share information and coordinate local government action around community revitalization. The Coalition, now known as the Connecticut Vibrant Communities Coalition (CVCC) starts with Waterbury and Hartford, with funding from HWSF and staffing by Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC). At present, it includes 14 municipal and nonprofit organizations.

HWSF also paid for Frank Alexander to come to CT to present on land banks in October.

2017

In November, Center for Community Progress holds a Vacant, Abandoned, and Dilapidated (VAD) Academy in Hartford, CT to share technical assistance and build capacity for local governments to coordinate anti-blight and community revitalization activities. In December, Center for Community Progress issues a technical report with recommendations for Waterbury to address blight. A land bank is recommended among several other strategies. The City begins implementing recommendations and continues efforts underway that are validated by the report.

2016

Plan for Conservation and Development adopted to guide next decade of land use. Land bank is featured as a recommendation for assisting city implement various land use strategies. Harold Webster Smith Foundation (HWSF) contracts with Center for Community Progress to review Waterbury strategies for addressing blight. HWSF subsequently provides seed capital for City to hire Community Development Planner to implement some of CCP's recommendations.

2014

City continues to execute strategic demolitions of dilapidated properties with close coordination across city departments.

2012

In April, Mayor O'Leary forms Blight Task Force under leadership of Lt. Dan Lauer of Waterbury Police Department to formalize its anti-blight strategy and improve coordination of resources. Work continues on targeted residential demolitions, neighborhood clean-ups, and aggressive action against negligent property owners. City also undertakes aggressive repurposing off numerous brownfield sites, which continues through the next decade.

Leadership

Nancy M. MacMillan, Executive Director

Hired in July 2022 as the first WLB Executive Director, Nancy MacMillan has unique experience in that her professional background is both within the public and private sectors, working in the “for profit” and “not for profit” industries, in real estate, affordable housing development, community development, and within county government.

Nancy graduated from Saint John’s University in Jamaica, New York with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Her original aspirations were to go to Law School at St John’s University but after graduation, she pursued a career in commercial real estate appraising, obtaining a General Certified Real Estate Appraiser License with the State of New York.  As a commercial real estate appraiser, Nancy analyzed commercial real estate, taxes/assessments, feasibility of real property, and market trends. This analytical ability, along with her staff's capabilities at the Land Bank, assists the WLB in repurposing blighted property and returning properties to viable uses for the City. 

Ms. MacMillan’s experience employed in Westchester County Government in the Planning Dept was an invaluable experience. Working with the County Executive’s office, and Board of Legislators, underwriting projects for grants or loans provided by the County, as Director of Housing, Nancy and her staff were responsible for the asset management of over 1,500 properties which received grants/loans provided by the County.  

As Director of Real Estate Development in New Haven for Common Ground Community, a NYC based not for profit supportive housing development organization, Nancy, as Director, managed their New Haven Office. This was her first opportunity to fulfill a life passion to develop affordable housing, starting with the redevelopment of the Historic Hollander Building on Asylum Ave in Hartford. This historic building was vacant for years until it was acquired and redeveloped into a 76 unit, mixed-use, mixed-income, historic rehab, and LEADS certified project…the first in City of Hartford. With the partnership of Yale School of Architecture, the West Haven Veterans Administration, and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund, Nancy was the team leader for Common Ground Community in creating their first home ownership-housing model. Yale students designed and built several two-family homes for moderate- and low-income families with focus on female veterans. 

As Executive Director for Loyola Development Corporation in the City of Waterbury, Ms. MacMillan assisted in the revitalization of the South End Neighborhood. Partnering with the Carabetta Organization, Loyola Development developed Liberty Commons, an affordable housing project for families, on South Main Street. 

As Executive Director for the WLB, Nancy has strong aspirations to continue her community development work in Waterbury with her Board of Directors, and her colleagues.  

Board of Directors

Stewardship of the Waterbury Land Bank is provided by a group of local volunteers.

fredleudke.png

Frederick Luedke

Chairperson

Fred is a former Board of Alderman for the City of Waterbury, and former President of Neoperl – a
manufacturer/distributor for the faucet and water industry. 

drjamesgatling.png

Dr. James Gatling

Vice Chairperson

Dr. Gatling is the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of New Opportunities – a community action agency serving Waterbury and cities/towns across Connecticut.

MAGGIE-SMITH.jpg

Maggie Smith

Secretary

Maggie is an Attorney with Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey.

CaptainDanLauer.png

Deputy Chief of Police, Daniel Lauer

Director

Dan is the Deputy Chief of Police for the City of Waterbury Police Department, and an active member in numerous community organizations.

Bobpolito.png

Robert Polito

Treasurer

Robert is the retired Senior Vice President of Webster Bank, and active member of the Harold Webster Smith Foundation.

grullon.png

Gawdys Grullon

Director

Gawdys is the Director of Vocational, Education & Training at New Opportunities – serving a vast range of populations in the local community.

JoelBecker.png

Joel Becker

Director

Joel is the Chief Executive Officer of Torrco – a family-owned leader in plumbing, piping, HVAC, kitchen & bath solutions based in Waterbury.

Join us in a City of opportunity and growth, by finding a property that fits your plans.