Applications are no longer being accepted. Stay tuned for updates on winning projects!
Please note: This was a one-time, non-recurring program.
How to Apply
Applications should be completed, printed and submitted (along with supporting documentation) by mail (postmarked by Aug. 14, 2015) or in person (Aug. 14 by 4pm) to:
Attention: Vacant Lot Challenge
City of Milwaukee, Department of Public Works
841 N. Broadway Room 618, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Questions or assistance on applying should be emailed in writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsored by Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, the Vacant Lot Challenge is a pilot project which will showcase creative ideas and strategies for transforming Milwaukee’s vacant land into an asset that contributes to a community need.
The Vacant Lot Challenge will focus its efforts in the Milwaukee Promise Zones. There are four Promise Zone neighborhoods and the objective is to fund a project in each zone. The Promise Zones are targeted in Aldermanic District 1 (Old North Milwaukee), District 6 (Harambee/North Division), District 12 (Near South Side), and District 15 (Washington Park). See maps, lists of eligible properties and timelines for each zone at left.
How It Works
A key component of the Vacant Lot Challenge is resident involvement. Teams should be formed of residents, community based organization, local businesses, or other legal entities.
Teams will compete for the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas at the scale of no more than two connected vacant lots.
Strategies should engage residents and address a community need such as: food systems, art, community space, economic development, education, and storm water retention.
Teams must include neighborhood residents and at least one legal entity. Team registrants must be 18 years of age or older and able to enter into a legal agreement. Only one entry per team will be accepted.
This is an open call for projects: Resident teams, community groups, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations are all encouraged to enter. The competition sponsors encourage multidisciplinary teams in order to promote the most creative solutions to the issues of vacancy. Members could include architects, landscape architects, urban planners, sculptors, engineers, ecologists, horticulturists, gardeners, hydrologists, historians, artists, etc.
Successful projects will be responsive to the unique context of each lot, as well as the neighborhood context. Competition judges will be looking for:
- 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 activity and programs
Things To Know
Project teams will need to submit a detailed project proposal, including site plans, project budget and an ongoing maintenance and monitoring plan.
- Teams must select one of the pre-identified sites located within the Promise Zones.
- Winning teams can receive up to a $10,000 grant for project implementation. Matching funds are not required, but are highly encouraged.
- Project grant funds are reimbursable and must be funded upfront by applicants. With advanced approval, interim reimbursements can be submitted to help with project cash flow. This should be requested in the application.
- Only expenses on or after the date of project approval will be considered eligible project expenses.
- If project requires professional services or installation, the City will require written estimates/bids for proposed work costing $1,000 or more. Use of local professionals/contractors is highly encouraged.
- Grant will not reimburse for purchase of equipment, power tools, food or entertainment. Salaries/benefits/overhead are not eligible project costs.
- Projects should be temporary in nature and should not involve a difficult to remove physical structure.
- Project awards will require a minimum two-year vacant lot maintenance agreement.
UWM Community Design Solutions will assist teams in developing a design vision for their selected site and provide design sketches that the participants can take with them at the end of the session. Workshops with time slots of 45 minutes each will be held at no cost to competing teams. Pick a time slot in your area from one of the sessions at left and sign up online to reserve your spot.
City of Milwaukee Vacant Lot Handbook
City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability www.refreshmke.com
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Walnut Way Conservation Corp. www.walnutway.org