Cook County Land Bank Authority program celebrates 1,000th renovated home

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County officials celebrated a milestone Wednesday morning on the West Side with the 1,000th renovated home as part of a county-run program.

The before-and-after pictures are remarkable. The home at 3838 West Adams Street in the West Garfield Park neighborhood was once abandoned and sitting in disrepair.

It sat vacant for at least five years. With a lot of love, it underwent a major makeover, with everything from top to bottom being brand new.

"Government has long been complicit with the private sector in extracting wealth from Black communities," said Marisa Novara, Chicago commissioner of the Department of Housing. "We've gotta make right in these communities. This is how we do it."

Cook County officials celebrated the home Wednesday morning, announcing that through its programs with the Cook County Land Bank Authority, community developers have now renovated 1,000 previously vacant and abandoned homes across the county, returning them to productive, tax generating use.

"As of today, the land bank has added more than 15 million dollars in revenue to Cook County, disrupting decades of disinvestment and enabling small developers to build businesses and create jobs leading to greater stability in their own neighborhoods," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The Cook County Land Bank Authority was formed by a Cook County ordinance back in 2013 to address the large inventory of vacant residential, industrial and commercial properties in Cook County.

As a way of celebrating the 1,000 homes renovated milestone, the Cook County Land Bank Authority hosted a walkthrough.

"We're celebrating our 1,000th home and there are 999 others throughout Cook County that we celebrate every day and we're looking to scale up the land bank's efforts in the coming years," said Eleanor Gorski, director of the Cook County Land Bank.

The property was acquired by community developer Henry Shelton, who grew up on the West Side. He was looking for a way to give back to his community.

"Being a West Sider I always wanted to do a graystone, so once this graystone came along, through the land bank and I acquired it, it was something special," Shelton said.

Shelton said this was his 20th home he renovated through the land bank and he has no plans on making it his last.
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