CHICAGO (CBS) – Lawndale community residents say many vacant lots in their neighborhood are nothing but eyesores, often times attracting trouble. Some of the lots have been transformed.
The city says the cost to buy the land costs only $1.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports on the city program and some of the additional expenses behind it.
Three years ago, neighbors say the patches of land invited the wrong kind of crowd.
“A lot of drug trafficking walking back and forth through the lot,” said Sandra Brown. “[It was] a big old vacant, empty, nasty lot.”
Sandra Brown bought the land from the city and turned it into a park for seniors and children from her nearby daycare to gather. She says she bought the land for one dollar.
The $1 lots are part of the city’s Large Lots Program, where people living on the block can buy vacant lots, provided they’ve paid all of their city bills.
“It means a lot to me to give back to the neighborhood,” stated Brown.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Office says more than 3,200 lots on Chicago’s South and West sides are now available for purchase for $1. Since 2015, more than 1,240 lots have been sold.
Jennipher Adkins turned a once-wooded area into the Yale Harvard Garden Park.
“It took a lot of effort and dirt removal,” said Adkins.
She says she has plans to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs in the park.
The purchase price was $1, but Adkins says removing the trees and putting up required fencing cost $28,000-$30,000.
Adkins raised the money through community and private donors.
Prior debt on the land is forgiven, but she and others will pay the property taxes, which she estimates to be about $600 per year.
“[It’s] not quite a dollar at the end of the day, but still a good investment,” claims Adkins.
Eligible Chicago property owners can submit applications through July 2.
For more information on how to submit an application, visit largelots.org.
Up to two parcels are available per applicant.