CHICAGO (WLS) -- The City of Chicago has a deal that many residents can't refuse: vacant residential lots are being sold for only a dollar. But if you buy one, you have to do something with it.
Dee Ransom waits for her number to be called. Others are waiting too. Dee is about to buy a vacant lot on the South Side block where she lives as part of the city's large lot program. If there's a vacant piece of city-owned residential property on a block where you already own, you're good on taxes, no fines or liens. You can buy that lot for just $1.
Like the narrow lot Ransom just bought by her home, vacant lots here and everywhere collect debris, are unsightly and cost the city to maintain.
"Most times the weeds we get would be two to three feet tall before the city would come cut, so when the opportunity came to buy the lot, I said I might as well buy it so I could maintain it, cause it's mine," Ransom said.
The city of Chicago owns some 13,000 vacant residential properties. Over half of them could conceivably fit under the umbrella of this program.
Some 300 properties are being closed on as part of the city's large lot pilot program. It's so successful it's being expanded from several South Side communities to the Austin neighborhood on the West Side.
"So now these are citizens who own property, take care of the property, pay taxes on the property. Hopefully they're either doing a garden or building on it," said Andrew Mooney, Planning and Development commissioner.
Ransom got to meet the mayor before heading south to gaze on her new land with visions of a garden. Not bad for a dollar.
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