NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WBEN/AP) - The city of Niagara Falls is letting residents buy neighboring city-owned vacant lots at low prices in hopes of getting them back on the tax rolls.
The City Council recently approved the first sales under the new Niagara Falls Open House program, selling five lots for $100 to $500 apiece.
"It's a good buy for homeowners and it's a good sale for the city, because the city is currently taking care of the majority of these vacant lots themselves, and it costs us way more than $100 to take care of one lot. So to be able to sell it and get it back on the tax rolls is a good deal for everyone, " City Councilman Sam Fruscione tells WBEN.
Niagara Falls owns about 600 vacant lots following years of population declines. Officials say selling them will get them back on the property tax rolls and free the city from the grass cutting and cleanup expenses its bearing now.
Robert Hull Jr. told :The Niagara Gazette that he bought two lots directly behind his home for a total of $600 and looks forward to transforming the overgrown, weed-filled property into a neatly trimmed, fenced-in lawn for his two sons.