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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay joined Aldermen Cara Spencer (20th Ward) and Chris Carter (27th Ward) in announcing the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority’s ‘Mow to Own’ program as a means to restore blighted properties by incentivizing homeowners in the neighborhood.

Under the Mow to Own program, residents who live adjacent to a vacant LRA property can purchase temporary ownership of the land for just $125, but only if they agree to maintain it. If the person keeps the property mowed and cleared of debris for 24 months, the property will become theirs. The vacant parcel must be under LRA control for at least three years before being eligible for the Mow to Own program.

Mayor Slay calls it “sweat equity,” a way to help citizens expand land ownership and improve neighborhoods. The city land bank started in 1971 and is the oldest program of its kind in the United States. It allows the city to take ownership of a property five years after the owner abandons and fails to pay taxes.