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‘Mow to Own’ Program Proposed to Help Cleanup Vacant Lots in NOLA

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - If you’ve been cleaning up the vacant lot next door to your home, you could eventually wind up owning it. The mow to own program would reward adjacent homeowners and address city-wide blight.

Parts of New Orleans are peppered with boarded up homes and over-grown lots.

Perhaps no one knows it more than Sandra Floyd.

Her Louisa Street home is surrounded by blight.

“What you can see behind us is a forest, side of me abandoned house, and trees and we have cut them down during the winter but during the summer comes, they grow back up,” Floyd said.

A short distance away Edmond Thomas spends a good amount of time cleaning up and mowing the lot next door to his home.

Trotter asked, “How often do you do it? Probably once, probably about three times a week,” Thomas replied.

It’s the kind of effort that could be rewarded with ownership of vacant lots, if New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell has her way.

A new ordinance currently under consideration would create a mow to own program. It would essentially allow tax delinquent adjudicated properties to be “sold” to neighbors who want the property and are willing to take care of it.

Neighbors, like Sandra Floyd.

“I love it; I would love to have that lot.” Trotter asked, “Tell me why?” “Because I can extend my yard,” Floyd replied.

Under certain conditions the program would allow homeowners to buy lots from the city, possibly at discounted prices.

Thomas likes the sound of it; not only for himself but also for the greater good.

“I’d be great; I think it’s be nice because it’ll bring back the city more faster, this area for faster,” Thomas said.

In a statement Latoya Cantrell said, “She’s excited about this new tool… “She thinks it will be a game changer in some of our most blighted neighborhoods.”

“My hope is that it go through. I hope so because it’ll be good for the community,” Thomas said. “It’ll be great for the person staying next to it, the vacant land because it won’t be an eyesore.”

The proposed ordinance is still in the early stages.

New Orleans City Council members are trying to establish exactly how the program will work.

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