Upkeep of Lots

The initiative Upkeep of Vacant Lots, removing trash and overgrown weeds is related to Muncie Action Plan (MAP)  initiative 5: Managing Community Resources.This action initiative educating community members about the benefits of  maintaining vacant lots to enhance physical appearance of the Industry neighborhood. This includes the protection of neglected vacant lots and impose costs on community residents and the public sector. Efforts to maintain these areas requires costs that local governments do not have, resulting in “grassroots” efforts from Industry neighbors. Though Upkeep of Lots initiative and removal of trash and overgrown weeds promotes a more appealing neighborhood. Also, by having a trash cleanup day, this would help bring Industry neighborhood together and instill community pride.

Why this is important

Industry residents and students identified this initiative as a medium priority level. The current trash and debris has a negative impact on public and private property. The maintenance of vacant lots to keep them clean has become a concern of many residents, which was brought up at the January neighborhood association meeting. Safety is also a concern, as neglected lots have become places with overgrown weeds and litter. Also, these abandoned lots decrease property values of surrounding properties within the Industry. The improvement of lots appearance aims at raising the quality of life for community members, and creating a truly healthy community (See Figure 1).

Cleaning Event

Community clean up events are a great way to increase the community pride and sense of ownership. Source: Ibrahim Galeza

What this will involve

This initiative can be tackled by practicing appropriate disposal of trash, organizing weekly clean-ups and implementing a strong enforcement on littering. Volunteer programs and efforts for a trash cleanup through the neighborhood will be needed as well as a strategic funding. Regulations and enforcement of fines can be initiated as a way to combat individual whom litter. Furthermore, each resident can contact the Muncie Sanitary District to report any violation through their website: (insert url link here).
http://www.many residents that take notice of such violations

In order to upkeep lots and enhance the neighborhood landscape, slow-growing grass that requires less maintenance and less supplemental water will be planted in vacant lots. In addition, involving an urban agriculture program in Industry to create a community garden can provide fresh and healthy food alternatives while increasing greater food security within the neighborhood.
The entire neighborhood should share ownership to completely tackle the trash issue. Moreover, there will be reduced in litter and debris from ongoing efforts as residents devote their time with this initiative.

Contact information for funding/assistance sources

Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
(765) 747-4825 (phone)
(765) 747-4898 (fax)
Contact: Dr. Terry Whitt Bailey, Director

Muncie Urban Forestry Program
1800 S Grant St, Muncie, IN
(765) 747-4858
Muncie Sanitary District
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
(765) 747-4864 (phone)

Contact: Kellie McClellan, Urban Forester
Ball Brothers Foundation
222 S. Mulberry St. Muncie, IN 47304
(765) 741-5500
Contact: Donna Munchel

Muncie-Delaware Clean and Beautiful
Indiana Housing and Community Development
Authority (IHCDA)
30 South Meridian Street
Suite 1000
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-7777 (phone)

Suitability analysis

This initiative applies to the entire community and all parts of the Industry (See figure 2). Having an active group committee with strong leadership to promote awareness for a cleaner neighborhood is essential. Volunteer participation in cleanup events is important to reach the milestone of this initiative. Furthermore, partnering with local organizations to provide food for summer cookouts can be beneficial to attract participants for a neighborhood clean up.

Case studies One: Chicago, IL

The City of Chicago had a comprehensive plan in 1998 to identify the city vacant open spaces. The city and its partners converted more than 1344 acres of neighborhood parks, wetland, natural areas, neighborhood parks, campus parks, and community gardens from 1998 to 2012. Vacant lots were therefore transferred to the Chicago Park District or a neighboring space. Non-profit organizations helped to transfer of vacant lots by providing temporary ownership, particularly for smaller sites and worked with the community to develop and implement community garden plans. “Multiple financing mechanisms, including bonds, tax increment financing, and an open space impact fee supported the acquisition and development of open space.”

Case Study Two: The City of Philadelphia, PA

The member-based Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in the City of Philadelphia, PA, organized its first green team in 1975, which content of 10 residents, to build community gardens on vacant lots. With funding support from William Penn Foundation and City of Philadelphia CDBG, the project could engage more residents in greening projects to reinvigorate community pride in these neighborhoods. However, about 85,476 vacant lots had been cleaned by March 2007 and turned into green community assets, the City partner with PHS to develop a strategy for maintaining and reusing these lots. One of the strategies was influencing the NTI to help local groups revitalize neighborhood parks and expand the City Green’s preliminary work in urban agriculture and street trees.





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