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Thousands Of Chicago Lots Are Available To Buy For $1 Each

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 29, 2016 7:05PM

Flickr / Photo: Gabriel X. Michael

Who says you can’t get anything for a dollar anymore?

True to its name, the Large Lots Program—which lets homeowners purchase nearby city-owned abandoned lots for $1—is getting a huge expansion from the city. The program is broadening into 30-plus neighborhoods on the South and West Side, offering up some 4,000 (!) parcels for cheap purchase.

“The Large Lots program turns vacant lots into neighborhood assets that benefit neighbors and communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release. “This program’s success is driven by people who are committed to strengthening their communities block by block, and this expansion will create opportunities to strengthen neighborhoods throughout the entire city of Chicago.”

The city started the project in 2014 as a means for individuals and non-profits to inexpensively reinvest in communities. Chicago has sold more than 550 lots since that time, according to the release. This year’s figure represent far and away the peak of available spaces yet.

The eligible lots are already zoned for residential use, and most end up used as landscaped yards or neighborhood gardens, according to the city.

William Stewart, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies the effects of the program, told the Tribune that 40 percent of buyers make quick improvements:

"The people who are there care about those neighborhoods. This program gives them the opportunity to express their care for the neighborhood in growing green infrastructure, in creating places for children and families, and in making it more beautiful."

Applications are open through January 31, 2017. Find available spaces and submit requests at