Boarded up homes in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago in 2011. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)
Part of the challenge will be tracing the ownership of such properties and taking the necessary steps to be able to demolish them.
The program could dovetail with efforts of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, which is just getting started. “We want to try and preserve property as much as we can but a lot of the property that we’re offered, by the time it gets to us, is in such a dilapidated state,” said Brian White, the land bank’s executive director. “The cost of demolition and deconstruction is one of the things preventing putting property into its next best use.”