Jun 272012

A nonprofit developer in Central City is showcasing one of its empty lots as an example of sustainable management of vacant properties.

For information about the project, see the following news release from Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initative:

Jericho Road has advocated since the start of its Vacant Land Management program that in order to address the city-wide issue of blighted and vacant properties, it is sometimes necessary to start small by developing solutions at the scale of the neighborhood, or even a single lot.  A partnership with the Tulane City Center has provided the perfect opportunity to advance Jericho Road’s ideas surrounding the on-the-ground work of greening and beautifying vacant lots. Over the course of the last year, this relationship produced a guide entitled Vacant Land: Site Strategies for New Orleans.  Recently, a grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Metropolitan Opportunities Fund was awarded to Jericho Road to implement “Green Lot,” a demonstration project showcasing key designs and blight interventions from the guide.

Located on a highly visible Jericho Road-owned lot on the corner of South Saratoga Street and Seventh Street in Central City’s Faubourg Delassize neighborhood, the demonstration project will be a site for Jericho Road to test how various landscaping and fencing designs work and withstand the pressures of an urban environment.

Why keep our lots clean and green? Evidence from other cities suggests that this is a simple strategy to improve neighborhood real estate values, deter crime, and generally create a better quality of life for local residents.

These ideas will be advantageous not only for the neighborhoods served by Jericho Road, but also for the entire city of New Orleans.

Last week, Jericho Road revealed “Green Lot” during the Center for Community Progress’ Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference in New Orleans. Standing alongside other New Orleans non-profits, Broadmoor Development Corporation and Harmony Neighborhood Development, Jericho Road was featured in a mobile tour to showcase evidence of community engagement and organizing as a strategy for neighborhood revitalization. Tour participants included professionals from all over the country focused on creating solutions for blighted and vacant properties.

On a small scale, Jericho Road’s Green Lot demonstrates solutions for individual, organization, or government vacant property owners. In the upcoming years, Jericho Road intends to replicate these ideas on other neighborhood properties, and to inspire other neighborhoods and property owners to take similar action.

Download Vacant Land: Site Strategies for New Orleans at jerichohousing.org/vacant-land-site-strategies-jerichoroad.pdf.

About Jericho Road: Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative was founded in 2006 with a generous grant from Episcopal Relief & Development.

Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative of New Orleans is neighborhood-based nonprofit focused on community development and neighborhood revitalization. Jericho Road provides families with healthy, energy-efficient, and affordable housing opportunities; partners with neighborhood residents, organizations and businesses to create and maintain a stable and thriving community; and works to address blight through thoughtful vacant land management strategies.

  • Uptown is filled with “development groups” all with words like opportunity, rebirth, and hope in their names who managed to cheaply or freely acquire in many neighbourhoods a critical mass of properties in the name of giving New Orleanians access to affordable quality housing and home ownership. The real end-result: huge swaths of vacant land and entire blocks of the lowest quality section 8 housing imaginable. In the very worst chunks of the Carrollton neighbourhood, only 3 or 4 related individuals (often through companies like this) control a majority of these properties which if they weren’t occupied would simply be called blighted. The only opportunities they are providing is for a nesting ground for crime and violence and for them to line their own pockets with government housing checks each month while making their tenants live in an ever worsening environment and preventing true redevelopment by bringing down property values of everyone around them.

    • Donald Waits

      Drew, you have it DOWN accurately (unfortunately). Those cliched words you mentioned are getting OLD, fast. All over New Orleans there are empty buildings and vacant lots that have been sitting there, unused, for DECADES, most owned by the same individuals you also mentioned. The ownership of these places should be a matter of public record. Perhaps some civic minded individuals could look at those records? Keep in mind that these “public records” can sometimes be….uh….altered?