The economic crunch is sprouting vacant lots across the nation—and some communities think that's a good thing. Banks, encouraged by government officials, are changing the US landscape by bulldozing scores of foreclosed homes—at a cost of some $7,500 a pop—and donating the cleared land to communities, reports the Washington Post. Banks have found it's cheaper to raze homes and give away the property rather than continue to pay upkeep and property taxes. Current and pending laws in Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and Georgia are setting up "land bank" systems urging demolition of homes in the hope of reusing the lots, if only for a parking lot or community garden.
Communities would rather have the banks pay to clear the land rather than simply walk away. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are donating hundreds of foreclosed properties to the Ohio land bank, while Fannie Mae hands over some 30 properties a month. While too much demolition could wipe out some communities, observers say it's at least "burying the dead," notes the Post.