CHICAGO (AP) — More than 4,000 vacant Cook County properties are being put up for sale as part of an effort to improve distressed communities.

The Cook County Land Bank Authority says the 4,437 tax-delinquent parcels represent the largest one-time release of real estate in county history.

The properties are located in areas of Chicago and suburban Cook County that were hard hit by the foreclosure crisis or the decline in manufacturing. Many have been vacant for five to 10 years, creating blight in neighborhoods.

Community-based developers, homeowners, block clubs and non-profit organizations may buy the parcels and transform them into community gardens, play lots or basketball courts.

Cook County formed the land bank in 2013. Commissioner Bridget Gainer says this week’s action will contribute to “a rust belt reboot.”

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