Putting the Heart Back in the Heartland: Regional Land Bank Initiatives for Sustainable Rural Economies
Comment by Ron Johnson
This comment sheds light on an issue that is often overlooked in the present economic, legal, and political environment, and it provides insight into a hybrid land bank legislation model to benefit Rural America, including the states of Arkansas and Missouri.
This comment is composed of five parts. Part II describes the historical downward-spiraling problem of capital and economic depletion in rural communities and the current response by federal and state governments. Part III contrasts the decline in rural economies with that of its urban counterpart and explains the governmental response with the creation of land banking authorities in urban communities, as well as the success of these institutions. Part IV analyzes land banking legislation, or lack thereof, and the present land banking entities in the states of Arkansas and Missouri. Finally, Part V proposes an initiative to accommodate and cultivate growth in rural communities by (1) passing land bank enabling legislation and (2) creating regional and local land banking entities with unique operations to better accommodate rural communities and economic realities.