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Metro Louisville Launches $38,000 Competition for Vacant Lot Reuse Concepts


Metro Louisville is seeking proposals for innovative uses of vacant properties.The competition will award two people or groups $15,000 prizes and ownership of a vacant lot to implement their long-term,permanent plans. Two more $4,000 prizes and one-year leases will be awarded to people or groups for temporary plans, which would use the space until permanent development can happen.The competition is now accepting proposals from people or groups here. The applications must be turned in no later than Feb. 24.“We want ideas, obviously, that are creative, that are bold, out of the box," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "Ideas that will make us rethink what a vacant lot is and how it can be used. And not looking at vacant properties just as a problem property, but an opportunity for some exciting and energetic redevelopment.”Louisville has about 6,400 vacant properties, Fischer said. Of those, more than 400 are under Metro Louisville's control. About 140 structures have been demolished.“There are some things that are very frustrating, but living next door to a vacant or abandoned property while you are a responsible homeowner or apartment-dweller is really frustrating. You take care of your property, the property next to you is not being taken care of. That’s something we want to eliminate in the city.”Possible ideas taken from elsewhere include adventure playgrounds, community gardens, goatherding, restaurants  inside shipping containers, and such, said Julienne Chen, project manager for the mayor's Innovation Delivery Team.About 260 city lots are available for the program, Chen said.The prizes are being funded by the Gheens Foundation, Fischer said. The competition is a collaboration between the Innovation Delivery Team, the city's Department for Community Services and Vision Louisville.You can find more information about the competition, and enter, here.And you can find more information from the city about Louisville's vacant properties here.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.