VAPStat (short for "Vacant and Abandoned Property Statistics") is a program that uses data and metrics to assess Metro Government's performance in tackling the complex problem of vacant properties. This website is a one stop shop for citizens to learn about the programs and resources available through Metro to: prevent abandonment; ensure that properties are maintained according to Code via enforcement tools; and to support property redevelopment through acquisition and sale of properties.
Welcome to the website for the Louisville Metro Government Lots of Possibility competition!
About the Competition
Like most cities, Louisville is working to address issues of vacancy, blight and abandonment in its community. Vacant properties not only threaten the health, safety and vibrancy of a neighborhood – but they also are lost opportunities to create active places that strengthen neighborhoods. There are several thousand vacant lots throughout the city – of which approximately 450 are owned by Metro Government and/or the Landbank Authority, Inc. and available for redevelopment. The objective of this competition is to not only engage the community and solicit innovative, affordable and replicable ideas to return these vacant lots into productive use – but also to provide seed funding to see the ideas through implementation. It’s part of a broader strategy as the city works to implement policies and plans to reduce the number of vacant and abandoned properties that dot the city, with a high concentration in West Louisville. The city has identified more than 6,000 vacant properties and is addressing this issue with a multi-pronged approach including redevelopment and targeted demolitions and foreclosures.
Individuals or teams were asked to submit ideas for either permanent or interim use of an eligible Metro-owned property. Metro received over 100 applications by the February 24, 2014 deadline, from which 12 finalists (6 Permanent Use proposals and 6 Interim Use Proposals have been selected. The competition will award two people or groups $15,000 prizes and ownership of a vacant lot to implement their long-term 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. Finalists will be asked to prepare a detailed project proposal due April 2, 2014, including site plans, a budget, and plans for implementation, operations and maintenance. Proposals for permanent use must also include a floor plan and two building elevations. Finalists will present their project proposals in early April to a panel of judges consisting of community leaders, architects, landscape architects and Metro Government staff.
“We asked for ideas that are bold and out of the box, and our community more than met this challenge,” Mayor Fischer said. “We are thrilled with both the caliber and number of proposals received and hope the ideas will inspire exciting and energetic redevelopment.”
“The review committee had a very difficult time narrowing down the list to the 12 finalists because there were many great proposals submitted,” said Bill Schreck, director of Vacant and Abandoned Properties (VAP) Initiatives for the Mayor’s Office. “While we can only offer direct support to four winners of Lots of Possibility, we hope that the applicants who weren’t chosen – and anyone else who has an idea about how to turn these lots into neighborhood assets – continue to pursue their ideas. Purchasing Metro properties is a relatively easy process and we are eager to work with citizens and developers who are interested in turning these lots into something positive and productive for our community.”
2014 Lots of Possibility Finalists
Permanent use project category:
- Affordable Homeownership (Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville and the Family Scholar House – Rob Locke, Jackie Isaacs, Harvetta Ray): Using Habitat for Humanity’s volunteer construction model, a new energy efficient home will be constructed near the Parkland Family Scholar House. A graduate of the Parkland Family Scholar House program, which seeks to end the generational cycle of poverty through education, will be selected for homeownership. The homeowner contributes sweat equity hours to the home’s construction.
- Cargo-container Home (Kentucky Habitat for Humanity - Holly Todd, Ken Williamson, John Cora, Jim Burris, Gregor Dike): A retrofitted, cargo-container home reutilizes existing materials while providing safe, healthy, economically and environmentally sustainable shelter for a very low-income population.
- DyeScape (Colleen Clines - Anchal Project, 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.
- Growing Home Garden (Seven Counties Services – Gwen Cooper, Laurie Qualah, Reza Gharachamani Asl, JoAnn Woods): A community greening project that incorporates therapeutic intervention to help families deal with trauma. At-risk youth will aid in the design, development and implementation of the garden.
- Prototype Green Shotgun House (One World Architecture – Curtis Thrush, Ken Parel-Sewell, Kyle Bragg, Dan Madryga): A prototype house designed to rethink Louisville’s famous shotgun houses. This proposal offers a practical and affordable infill housing solution, while incorporating quality design and state-of-the-art sustainable building practices.
- Urban Beekeeping (Ryan Hargrove, Travis Klondike, Meg Maloney): A diverse array of plant life not only creates a visually pleasing space, but also provides a food supply for this bee sanctuary. This proposal incorporates local honey production and the potential for job creation, educational opportunities and environmental awareness.
Temporary/interim use project category:
- BBQ Park (Louis Johnson): A BBQ pit, seating and canopy trees will create a place for the community to gather, cook and share food.
- Guerilla Putt-Putt (Dana Duncan, Jeff Mayes, Gwendolyn Kelly): A 9-hole, portable putt-putt golf course to be constructed for a series of day-long pop-up events in the community through spring, summer and fall.
- Lavender Garden (Christopher Head, Sha Shireman): Redirected rainwater, vegetated bioswales and french drains will be used to support lavender herb beds for decoration, potpourri and oil of lavender production.
- Meditation Labyrinth (West Louisville Women’s Coalition – Ramona Lindsey, Elmer Lucille Allen, Chenoweth Allen, Wilma Bethel, Robin Bray, Beth Henson, Ellyn Crutcher, Pam Newman, Harvetta Ray, Gwendolyn Kelly, Tyra Oldham): 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.
- Russell Market on Market (Erika Williams, Josh Minogue, Laura Rountree, John Sizemore): A monthly haymarket where vendor booths will be coupled with an educational, community-focused edible garden.
- Vacant Bugscapes (Emily Schlickman, Sara Jacobs, William Krimmel): An outdoor classroom and public space for assemblages of plants and insects that support ecological regeneration.
Check out our Inspirations Gallery examples from other cities' vacant lot redevelopment competitions
Are you interested in starting a community garden on a vacant lot? Consider the Brightside Let's Grow NatureScape Garden Grants that are available for gardens and beautification projects.
For more information or if you have any questions about the competition, please contact:
Curtis Stauffer, Grants Coordinator
Department of Community Services & Revitalization
Email: curtis.stauffer (at) louisvilleky (dot) gov
Phone: (502) 574-8298
This competition is a partnership between the Department of Community Services and Revitalization and Vision Louisville, with thanks to OpportunitySpace for providing our mapping tool. OpportunitySpace is a platform that helps communities find the best uses for public land using data and technology tools.