3-30-12: Courtesy of YNN. Abandoned houses are one of the biggest problems facing Buffalo and Erie County. On Friday, officials from across the county gathered to announce an effort aimed at dealing with the problem. Now several municipalites are banking on the state to help clean up the abandoned house problem. BUFFALO, NY — Red dots on a map represent the more than 70000 abandoned houses across Erie County. Although many are concentrated in Buffalo, it’s a plague that affects the entire area. “Why is this a problem?” asked Mark Poloncarz, (D), Erie County Executive. “Because of decreased property values, blight and crimes are costly to our local governments and result in a cycle of disinvestment for neighborhoods and all that are involved.” Officials from Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Tonawanda, joined with Poloncarz on Friday in announcing a plan to deal with the problem. The county filed a joint application with the Empire State Development Corporation to create a countywide land bank. Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law allowing municipalities to create land banks as an economic development tool. Poloncarz says the bank would be called the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation. “By joining together as one county, we created the strongest application possible and I am confident that the state will approve it and create our land bank,” said Poloncarz. A land bank would create a one-stop-shop for dealing with distressed properties. It would help speed

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