A new law sponsored by Rep. Melanie Sachs, D-Freeport, establishing the Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority has earned three awards for its impact on the revitalization of communities throughout Maine, according to a press release.

Rep. Melanie Sachs with the Outstanding Public Policy Award from GrowSmart Maine recognizing LD 1694. Photo contributed by Maine House Democratic Office

LD 1694 received the Outstanding Public Policy Award from GrowSmart Maine and was recognized as Project of the Year by both the Maine Association of Planners and the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association. The legislation received bipartisan support in the Legislature before becoming law in April.

The Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority will help communities bring abandoned, environmentally compromised and/or functionally obsolete properties into productive use by leveraging federal and technical resources. Municipalities will work with the land bank to determine the best use for the distressed property, often resulting in housing development or the creation of parks. The land bank will also provide technical assistance to communities as they explore their options, both in the form of best practices guidelines developed by a statewide Development Ready Committee and through access to the land bank’s staff to address barriers to the projects.

“The Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority has the potential to help every community by leveraging resources to address these properties and by providing assistance that is targeted to their goals,” Sachs said. “Our bill modeled how a diverse statewide coalition of organizations and interests can work together to find solutions to difficult issues in a way that was inclusive, bipartisan and transparent. It has been an incredible honor to work on this game-changing legislation with stakeholders across the state, and I am so proud to have led this effort in the Legislature.”

Sachs, who is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives, represents Freeport and part of Pownal. She serves on the Legislature’s Taxation Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.

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