Grants to improve vacant lots through sustainability and beautification efforts now open to public

Detroit Future City has once again opened its Working with Lots Grant Program.

Grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 are available to organizations looking to implement one of DFC's lot designs from their Field Guide. The program seeks to transform vacant lots throughout the city into attractive and useful public spaces that positively impact neighborhoods through community-minded activities and sustainability efforts.

Different than previous iterations, however, is this year's focus on eight very specific lot designs.

There are now 38 lot designs in the Field Guide to Working with Lots, two of which were added just this year. Despite the popularity of the program, there are still several lot designs that have yet to be implemented in the city since the grants were first introduced in 2016.

This year's grant program aims to change that.

For the 2019 Working with Lots Grant Program, grants will only be awarded to projects that plan to implement one of eight lot designs yet to be built throughout the city.

Some designs introduce sustainability infrastructure, like the stormwater runoff maintenance designs, while others introduce neighborhood beautification and placemaking programming and opportunities.

A common reason for these designs having yet to be implemented, says Shari Williams, Community Partnership Manager for DFC, is that they require more resources than some of the other lot designs.

The grant program could help supplement those costs.

"The response this year has been great. Roughly 200 people have expressed interest in the opportunity so far," Williams says. "This is the first time we’ve had that size of response.

"It means that people are learning the value of the program."

Proposals for the Working with Lots Grant Program will be accepted through Feb. 18, 2019. Visit Detroit Future City online to learn more.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.