CITY HALL — Mayor Rahm Emanuel will formally propose Wednesday that 322 city properties in Englewood be sold to local groups for $1 apiece as part of an ambitious five-year housing plan.
The "Large Lots" pilot program, to be submitted in the City Council meeting, would sell the properties to area homeowners, block clubs and nonprofit groups.
Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) pointed out the program has been in the works for a while, but welcomed Emanuel's move to advance it.
"The lots are being sold to the residents who live next to them," Thompson said before Wednesday's City Council meeting. "I'm pretty sure they're using them for side yards." Yet they also eliminate vacant lots at the same time, she added, and "get the community looking better."
According to the Mayor's Press Office, the program was so successful in Englewood that it's been expanded to East Garfield Park.
"The program is designed to move vacant properties out of the city’s hands and into private ownership in an expedited fashion, with the aim for residents to use the land to expand the yards around their homes, to create gardens on their block or for further beautification or housing," the mayor's office said.
It's the first initiative launched under the city's new Five Year Housing Plan, expected to plow $1.3 billion into city neighborhoods from 2014-2018 to "create, improve and preserve more than 41,000 units of housing," a release stated.
The five-year plan was produced by the Department of Planning and Development, under the guidance of 120 housing experts, activists, builders and owners, largely driven by a 20-member steering committee supported by a 60-member advisory group.
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