At the beginning of the year, Louisville officials asked the community for innovative ideas to reuse vacant lots.
Louisville has more than 5,000 vacant lots and has been trying to find ways to address the issue. The competition, called Lots of Possibilities, would address just a few of them.
“The hope is that their ideas will have a ripple effect and inspire other creative and innovative uses,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement.
The city got about 100 submissions. Here are the four winners:
dye Scape – 609 N. 17th St., 1655 Portland Ave. and 1657 Portland Ave. (Permanent Use)
Submitted by Colleen Clines and Maggie Clines with the Anchal Project and Louis Johnson. The urban textile landscape is a network of small-scale gardens that cultivate plant fibers, animal fibers and dye plants for the purpose of natural textile production. This site will demonstrate the potential of plants to provide natural color to materials, teach residents environmental sustainability and entrepreneurship and support local textile production.
Graduating to Homeownership – 2926/8 Dumesnil Ave. (Permanent Use)
Submitted by Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville and the Family Scholar House (Rob Locke, Jackie Isaacs, and Harvetta Ray). Using Habitat for Humanity’s volunteer construction model, a new energy efficient home will be constructed near the Parkland Family Scholar House (FSH) for a new graduate of the program. The FSH seeks to end the generational cycle of poverty through education, and by staying in the neighborhood, the graduate can continue to benefit from and provide benefit to the FSH community. A new program will also be created to provide financial counseling and application assistance to enable more families to qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home.
Submitted by Christopher Head and oSha Shireman. Redirected rainwater, vegetated bioswales and French drains will be used to support lavender herb beds for decoration, potpourri and oil of lavender production. This pilot project also seeks to demonstrate the potential of low maintenance/low mow plantings for vacant lots across the city. This project will be conducted in partnership with the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association and I.D.E.A.S. 40203.
Submitted by West Louisville Women’s Coalition (Ramona Lindsey, Elmer Lucille Allen, Chenoweth Allen, Wilma Bethel, Robin Bray, Ellyn Crutcher, Beth Henson, Gwendolyn Kelly, Pam Newman, Tyra Oldham and Harvetta Ray). This project will create an intergenerational open space for art and creativity. Community arts outreach will be paired with a walking path made out of personalized clay pavers and chalkboard walls made from recycled wood pallets and natural seating.
The two marked “permanent use” will get $15,000 and ownership of their respective lots. The two marked “interim use” get $4,000 and year-long renewable leases for their spots. The money was provided by a non-profit, the city said.
“This is just the beginning,” said Jeana Dunlap, who leads the city’s Vacant and Abandoned Properties Response Team. “We have hundreds of parcels similar to this that are available and ready for some TLC, ready for some attention, ready to see some innovation and development there.”