You can now nominate the ugliest vacant lot in Philadelphia

Across Philadelphia, about 4,500 vacant lots totaling almost 8 million square feet were cleaned and greened from 1999 to 2008, the report said. More than 50,000 vacant lots exist throughout Philadelphia.

In a city where blighted and vacant lots number in the tens of thousands, residents now have a chance to nominate the worst lot as part of a contest.

The Best/Worst Lot Contest is sponsored by a coalition called Take Back Vacant Land, which includes Action United, civic organizations and faith-based groups trying to shed light on the problem. The groups are in favor of proposed legislation in City Council that would create a land bank.

The groups wants the legislation to be re-introduced in the fall with changes to strengthen transparency and accountability and outline who gets land and for what, especially in “hot” neighborhoods.

According to a release, the contest will run now through Aug. 31. Entry is free and residents can participate by submitting up to three photos and describing the best or worst vacant lot in their community. Winners will receive home/yard improvement gift cards and clean-ups for the worst yards.

Here’s the full release:


“Take Back Vacant Land” Launches Philadelphia’s Best and Worst Lots Contest

Taking Aim at Blight and Pushing for Community Control

Who: Take Back Vacant Land coalition, made up of more than 40 faith,
labor and community groups

What: Best Lot/Worst Lot contest wants to find the best and worst uses
of vacant land in Philadelphia.

When: Now until August 31st, 2012.

Where: Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia – Wednesday, July 25th –How are our neighbors impacted by
abandonment and blight? What do community residents do when they have
control of vacant land in their neighborhoods?  The Best Lot/Worst Lot
contest, sponsored by Take Back Vacant Land (TBVL), asks these
questions of Philadelphia.  The contest is open to all and to
participate residents have to photograph and describe either the best
lot or worst lot in their community.  Entry is free and winners will
receive home/yard improvement gift cards as well as clean-ups for the
worst lots.

Philadelphia’s vacant land crisis is well documented – at least 40,000
blighted lots and buildings that reduce our collective wealth by $3.6
billion. Take Back Vacant Land has been working since early 2011 for
the creation of a Philadelphia Land Bank that would convert vacant,
abandoned, and tax delinquent properties into productive use.  In
February 2012, Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez introduced
legislation to create a Philadelphia Land Bank. More than 40 civic
organizations, churches, unions, and community groups have signed onto
a platform that calls for the bill to be re-introduced and
strengthened to ensure a transparent and accountable Land Bank with a
clear mandate on who gets land and for what – especially in “hot”
neighborhoods.

“Everyone has a story about an abandoned lot in their neighborhood,”
remarked Paul Yabor, a member of ACT UP Philadelphia and a resident of
Oxford Circle.  “Our communities could be using this land to produce
food, for small businesses that create jobs, for affordable housing,
and other important needs. To do that, we need a Land Bank we can
trust.”

“I’ve lived in Philadelphia all my life. In every neighborhood, people
have come together and said ‘this lot full of trash should be a garden
or a playground’ and made it happen,” remarked JoAnn Rose, a resident
of Point Breeze and a member of Action United.   “People who live,
work and worship in the community are its most important investors.
This contest shines a light on those people and the values that must
guide a Philadelphia Land Bank.”

To enter the contest, submit up to 3 photos, a short description and
contact information to takebackvacantland@gmail.com; drop off or mail
entries to Take Back Vacant Land c/o Liberty Resources, 714 Market
St., Phila PA 19106; or upload to
www.facebook.com/CampaignToTakeBackVacantLand



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