Large Lots in Englewood – Vision and Hard Work Create New Community Assets
Vacant lots – shrouded in wild flowers, speckled with garbage and abandoned without care – have long permeated the blocks of Englewood. Their locations don’t discriminate. They sit next to family homes and businesses, foreclosed properties or other vacant lots. How they came to be abandoned is often unclear. They’ve been that way for so long.
Through a City of Chicago-sponsored Large Lots Program, residents of Englewood have the opportunity to revitalize their blocks by purchasing vacant spaces for a single dollar. The only requirements are that applicants already own property on the same block of the lot they wish to purchase, and they state their plan to repurpose the lot.
The City sold 276 lots to community members in greater Englewood in December 2014 as part of an initial pilot of the Large Lots Program. To support these new lot owners in realizing their visions, LISC, through Teamwork Englewood, provided small grants to lot owners using funds from the Kresge Foundation for creative placemaking efforts around the country.
In May 2016, after Teamwork Englewood formed a selection committee of placemaking experts from within and outside of the community and coordinated an application and training process, 16 lot owners received small grants of $1,600-$2,500. Sammiria Malcone, Linda Maalik and Delece Williams are long-time residents who decided to take part in the creative placemaking program. They spent their funds on prepping their properties for a comeback. Though varying in vision, all share a common goal: To create something beautiful and useful for their community.
Recently, the City expanded the Large Lots program to 30 communities throughout Chicago. Applications are being accepted through January 31, 2017. For more information click here.
Photographer Annie Grossinger made repeated visits earlier this year to the lots Sammiria Malcone, Linda Maalik and Delece Williams were transforming. Here are her images of the works in progress.
For more reporting on the work of LISC- Chicago check out : www.lisc-chicago.org
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