The City of Chicago just announced a major expansion of its Large Lots Program, which offers vacant city-owned parcels to nearby homeowners for a mere $1. According to Curbed Chicago, since the program’s inception in 2014 in Englewood and East Garfield Park, more than 550 home owners have taken advantage of the program. It will now be expanded to include 4,000 parcels in 33 Chicago communities on the West and South sides. But to purchase any of these properties for just a buck, a few rules need to be followed.
According to the Large Lots program, buyers must reside on the same block of the property in question and must also be current on property taxes. Additionally, buyers must have no financial debt with the city to be eligible. Applications to purchase a parcel are being accepted at the Large Lots Web site, largelots.org, until the end of January.
The Large Lots program was launched as a way to fight the urban blight of vacant lots in Chicago, particularly on the outskirts. It is hoped these empty parcels will be transformed into gardens or other residential uses.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the program when announcing its expansion this week.
“The Large Lots Program turns vacant lots into neighborhood assets that benefit neighbors and communities,” Emanuel said. “This program’s success is driven by people who are committed to strengthening their communities block by block, and this expansion will create opportunities to strengthen neighborhoods throughout the entire city of Chicago.”
There are reportedly 20,000 vacant lots in Chicago and about 13,000 are city owned.