City wants ideas for vacant lots in specific neighborhoods

Milwaukee wants help from city residents to deal with vacant lots.  The Vacant lot challenge starts in four aldermanic districts.  City leaders 

Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, in collaboration with Mayor Tom Barrett, is inviting Milwaukee residents to take part in the \"Vacant Lot Challenge.\" Participants will submit ideas for creating, improving, and activating a vacant lot, and the winning team will receive a $10,000 reimbursable grant for project implementation. 

Mario Higgins is the the Housing Outreach Director.  He says the city needs ideas from people who see these lots every day.

\"This space affects them more than anyone else,\" Higgins said.   \"It's right next to their home. We're looking for residents to work with neighborhood organizations or local businesses in order to get this program underway and get their creative ideas out there.\"

These will be interim projects for these lots. The city would like - at some point - for new developments to take over these lots. But these ideas can fill in for now.

\"Ultimately, the city would like to have it built out but we recognize we have lots of vacant spaces. This  particular project, the vacant lot challenge calls for temporary or interim use. So at some point, there could be a  house rebuilt here.  In the meantime, let's turn it in to something that's a positive for the neighborhood and  residents.\"

Here's information from the city:

A special public workshop about the project will be held in the 1st District from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4 at the Villard Square Library (in the community room), 5190 N. 35th St.
The challenge is a pilot project that will showcase creative ideas and strategies for transforming Milwaukee's vacant land into an asset that contributes to a community need. Nonprofits and business leaders who have an interest in improving neighborhoods are encouraged to partner with residents and submit ideas. 
\"The Vacant Lot Challenge can inspire drastic change in the neighborhoods that need it most,\" said Alderman Hamilton. \"This is an opportunity for residents to take ownership in the transformation of Milwaukee, one vacant lot at a time.\"
Strategies should engage residents and address a community need such as food systems, art, community space, economic development, education and storm water retention. Project selection criteria will be based on:
·    Creative ideas and solutions that address a community need
·    Combining different ideas to address multiple needs or concerns
·    Response to unique site characteristics and local community context
·    Connections to other existing neighborhood activities and programs
The submission deadline for the challenge is Friday, August 14, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. For more information about the \"Vacant Lot Challenge,\" or the submission process, please visit 

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