Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is calling on City Council to create a Land Recycling Task Force. The mayor submitted legislation to create a 25-member task force yesterday. Ravenstahl says, “The goal of the task force is to recommend comprehensive land recycling strategies that will address issues of tax delinquency and abandonment and increase the viability of our neighborhoods. Ultimately, we hope to put more properties back on the tax rolls and improve our neighborhoods.”
Ravenstahl hopes the group will look at setting up a system that would allow community groups and other nonprofit organizations to acquire properties more easily. He says, “If we don’t gain more control over our abandoned properties, we can’t control our city’s destiny.” The legislation calls for the mayor to appoint all of the members of the task force. The introduction of the legislation follows on the heels of Pittsburgh being selected to participate in the Community Land Reform Initiative run by the Center for Land Reform and Harvard University’s Kennedy School for Government. Ravenstahl says consultants from the initiative will be able to assist the task force. The goal is to have the first meeting of the task force in early March, with a final plan inked within two years.