LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A large chalkboard marks the spot of an empty lot along West Market Street in the Portland neighborhood.
The chalkboard is the second phase of a project by the Mayor's Innovation Team and Gresham Smith and Partners to transform vacant lots in the area.
Urban designer Louis Johnson said, "Like many other postindustrial, low income communities this area has nearly 55 percent of its land area in vacant lots or abandoned buildings. Nearly 1/3 of every property in the area we surveyed was identified as vacant/abandoned."
In an effort to change that, the team is using the board to seek feedback from the residents on what should replace the empty lot.
The suggestions so far have ranged from a garden to a water park, even a free library. The chalkboard has little room left, as many residents have taken to the idea of finally replacing the lot with something to benefit the community.
"There's just nothing for the children to do but ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk," Melissa Rice, who lives next door to the lot, said.
Rice said she has seen the lot sit empty for at least 10 years.
Other neighbors said they are looking forward to an outlet for the children and they hope the project will transform Portland.
"We're hoping that this community will change because there's a lot of violence around here. Give the youth something to do instead of ripping and running around the streets," resident Delavante Earsery said.
Johnson said the next step is for the team, which includes City Collaborative, the University of Kentucky landscape architecture program, Gresham Smith Partners and the Mayor's Innovation Team, is to turn the community suggestions into implantable designs that will transform the space.