The St. Louis Land Reutiization Authority (LRA) was founded in 1971, making it the oldest land bank in the country, and holds approximately 12,000 vacant properties, 75% vacant lots and 25% vacant structures. Asakura Robinson was engaged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an assessment and make recommendations for process improvements based on a deep understanding of LRA operations and research on national best practices.
The study identified four key themes developed through research and interviews with over 80 local stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors:
- the need for the LRA to adopt national best practices;
- the presence of severe constraints on staffing and funding resources that make it difficult for LRA staff to move beyond maintaining basic inventory standards and procedures;
- the clear presence of operational issues throughout the “property lifecycle” of LRA acquisition, maintenance, and disposition; and
- the need to build on previous work and research, particularly the Center for Community Progress’ 2016 report on St. Louis Vacancy.
Finally, the study documents and timelin-based action plan that displays the order in which recommendations should be implemented.