TOPEKA (KSNT) — Topeka City leaders are weighing a new proposal to transform many of the city’s vacant and blighted properties into livable housing.

District 8 Councilman Spencer Duncan introduced a plan to implement a land bank program to rehabilitate residential properties.

A land bank’s sole purpose would be to acquire and repurpose foreclosed, vacant and abandoned properties – and turn them into affordable housing.

A recent city housing study found Topeka needs to add more than 400 units in the next five years to meet the current housing demand. In collaboration with the City Manager, the three-year pilot program would be funded by a one-time cost of $500,000.

However, some think the land bank proposal needs to be further evaluated and question how much could be done with the funding allotted.

KSNT 27 News met with District 2 Councilwoman Christina Valdivia-Alcalá, who explained her concerns with rushing this program into existence.

“Worrisome to me and that this has already come up to discussion at the governing the body so quickly,” Valdivia-Alcalá said. “Possibly smacks wanting to get a vote on it pretty soon. I just don’t think, I think we need more time. And we need to strategize on how this can blend in with the change in our culture of property maintenance.”

Several Kansas counties have already developed laws establishing local land banks.

And 17 states have specific laws allowing for land bank programs while 10 states have legislation pending.

The council took no action Tuesday. We’ll continue to follow the matter and bring you any developments as they happen.