WWL>Topics>>5-22-14 3:10pm Angela: on redeveloping NOLA's vacant lots

5-22-14 3:10pm Angela: on redeveloping NOLA's vacant lots

May 22, 2014|

Angela talks with Jeff Hebert of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority about how best to transform the empty lots sitting all across the NOLA landscape.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

You know I've really enjoyed this day I loved our first hour because. I think the study that came out the -- were 49 in the United States when it comes to how we handle on our senior health care. We're really needs to be addressed and they've got the facts and figures and it's so doable. We we need to talk about it and and our last hour what a jam. The the delightful woman from Allah issue who is say. Nutritionist. Who goals all of the country teaching other nutritionist. Talking about. Are we gonna go back to the -- eggs and we're not. So we just have to do what we know was the right thing and that is the moderation and he issued in examining yes you can have made he issued you have all these things. But we have to eat Smart. All of this stuff is affecting our health. And we are in charge of our health. We are also in charge of other things and that's why I love this hour and I love the man who's sitting across from me. The New Orleans redevelopment authority has lots of vacant lots just crying out to be developed. But developed in very special ways it has launched. Nora and green. And here to talk about it is -- Pierre executive director of the New Orleans redevelopment authority so you're going to bring two months. What you hope for creative ideas yes these empty lots we've been looking up for heaven knows how long. Now we're looking at him and saying this is like Kansas that's right so tell me about green. So first ball thanks Angela for having us on again. We. Enjoyed being able to get the message out but you always have all the information and you always know what's going on so thanks for having me on again. But today we're here to launch nor green which come for the past year -- so we've really been thinking through. Their lots of vacant lots this as you have before around the city some of them. You know. May not necessarily have a new house being built on it today it may in the future. On but in the meantime we know that by looking across the country and looking internationally that. City's have really done a really good job of figuring out some other creative things to do with vacant land until such time as a new house is built on and that and that sort of thing so. It's not just about cutting grass anymore right there are some other things that we can do so nor green. Is launching really tomorrow but we're doing a big push. On four programs. The first is our growing green program which many people might know is alternative land use so that's a program that you have an application. You have an idea you come and and you talk to our staff. Your application will go through and you can either purchase. Or at least the property and do things like community gardens and that sort of thing in your neighborhood that's who will be launching. This week. But again it could be community gardens which are seeing more tomorrow which are spectacular -- But can the other thing you can put a food truck on it now can't you can't put a fruit truck. But this is really for gardening I think we're really trying to focus on gardening things that really support the neighborhood support the community. And we've had a few of these before in the past about eleven of them are around the city with different organizations were really trying to move it forward because. We think that people. Really need to know that this is available. And they can take advantage of it. And then they can do something great for the -- apron most of the groups that we've worked with already on these types of projects -- are doing it and and food that is produced. I'm actually is used in that neighborhood to -- distributed to people in the neighborhood in some instances. There are connections to some of our local restaurants who want locally grown produce and so really pushing the envelope on -- growing local. But also healthy food access and some of the neighborhoods that had these vacant lots was a really big push. For that part of the program. The big thing you're saying only as much as quick cutting grass -- something very productive on apps available line that's right I mean there's there's so much more we can do. And the other thing is -- You know we don't think we have the best ideas we think the community has better ideas about how to use land that's in their neighborhood for these kinds -- use -- so. We're really trying to do a big push to the public so that they know that this is available they can go to our website we can talk all about that later. And put in an application. On its 250 dollars a year for leads. Com and if it's or we can work to get it sold if you -- purchases outright. But really we're just trying to focus on if it's just. Grass it's being cut and if we haven't gotten any sort of no one's made a call on it. Or wanted to put it in an auction or developer doesn't want it to do affordable housing or something like that then. Just besides cutting the grass there are other things we can do that can be a benefit that I think it's a great idea yeah. Yet the the other thing that we've done. Our on our green infrastructure side. Is studying really looking at things from around the country and our friends in the Netherlands but also our very own -- New Orleans urban water plan. That was finished one of the things that everybody's been pushing for his -- how can use vacant lot for storm water management. So at the end of last year we completed five lots. Across the city that are rain gardens on that demonstrate. On a those five pilots. What we can do with landscaping. On a vacant lot to retain some of the storm -- gated off the street. -- that's a really big part of of this project as well is to look at those learn from those and then do more of that around the city. We have partnerships with the sewage water board on that and really helping them I think about how. You can use some of the vacant land that we own. To work with their -- strategies so that sort of the second. Piece of this which we think is very important for neighborhoods. On the third is the growing home program. Which is. A piece of the lot next or program that everybody knows about we had 11100 citizens 11100. -- Indians who have taken advantage of that that's a discount program off of the cost of purchasing the lot next door. In exchange for you doing certain -- things like planning trees shrubs and that's where things if you put the elbow grease in. You buy some trees and some shrubs will knock down the cost of the property for you to incentive not to creative incentive for you to do. I'm -- on that lots and that's we've got 11100 of those already over the past few years. And those would be priced. Market price for that neighborhood it isn't a set amount of money -- lot that's correct OK it's a market price. And how to they see. How they see these lines where they are whether they wanna Lisa -- that. Note the if if you go to our website nor works dot or -- you know RA works dot -- Our inventory is on our website you can just click the button and you can look at all the properties that are available. The applications that we're talking about -- online as well so all that information is there. To scope click it if you have any questions whatsoever please call our office 658. 4400. And someone can help you. You know it's nice to have a live person on the other and some time. Love -- people on the other end of the line I want everyone to stay with us again we're going to be talking about some fairy fund projects that. It's really gonna help neighborhoods is gonna help us all and we just not gonna -- looking at a vacant lot we are more creative than that stay with this I'm Angela on that -- anyway. But we welcome you back were talking about down. All the lots around town and some wonderful concepts. Not -- real not concepts things that are actually happening we're talking with -- -- -- who was with the new world redevelopment authority. He was -- he's been there a little over a little over two years into its third year of this. And we started out with how many vacant lots over 5005000. Were down to around 252500. Very impressive than 11100 people have bought the lot next or -- to drag us. But there's still these vacant lots and now we're looking sort of face to. With cut the grass let's keep it nice but now let's really look at those plots of land in what could be there. So in Europe proposals you have the norm green a threat which is what you just explained and people can rent them on the lease them. For 250 dollars a year that's not that's not the it's nothing. And they can grow vegetables they can put orchard they can. They can do any number of things and and we have examples of people have already done this and have been huge community. Really change agents for many streets in some of these neighborhoods that now have activity. Produces going into the neighborhood so it's. You know it's something that we know people have asked us about and you see the whole farm to table movement. And local. Local growers and everything in in our region and also nationally and it just makes a lot of sense to make sure that. How we can connect people to the property in their neighborhood okay. Tomorrow you are announcing again about where people can apply that's right. Tomorrow will be at the cinco for -- CDC learning garden in the lower ninth court which is at 27 saint Claude court write offs and Claude avenue. -- they've been a partner with hours and hours for a couple of years -- their learning garden. Will be announcing an extension of that garden two five more lots that they're gonna have for an orchard. On the other side of saint Claude avenue in the lord and I report on the will also be launching the new application. And it'll be online tomorrow. At our website but also we'll have all the information -- staff on site and people can actually see what one of these gardens looks like. Well maintained by this community organization. Com and will be there to assist and we'll take applications right there. You know as I pass community garden tonight again I think gardens are sacred and I just think they're very special element in any community big -- small. But I'm always worried that somebody in the -- gonna rip off the staff does that happen. If it happens sometimes but there's. You know. People have been creative about how on to secure them you know with fencing in and stuff like that but also. Usually if you involve the people. Next door across the street around the corner in the project they're gonna take care of it and they're gonna police. You know police it themselves on and you see less of that when it's real community project. And and so yes there is some of that but there's a lot of community ownership that really. Turns the tide on a lot of that activity. One of the other programs that Norris involved in and -- assured me pictured on soaring. This case that we are radio can't show you put it just makes such sense and that is the green infrastructure. Kind of take me back and big picture yourself if you're driving along you're sitting at home about. How many times you've been aggravated -- street flat. This is a hell and it's so Smart and yet very simple you know it's it's. It's something that has been talked about for a long time and while it's a lot of places around the country. Have these it's basically a rain garden. But what it does in our case in New Orleans there's a little thing called that that some of our local landscape architects came up with the Ronald. Which is basically a cut in the -- On that allows the water from the street to go into this vacant lot another vacant lot is designed and engineered to retain the water. -- detain the water for a while and then it goes into the ground naturally. And replenish is our water table. So what it does is if there's flooding on the street. Instead of all of that flooding all of that water going into our system our our sewer system our water system. On into the pipes some of it and in fact a great. Big deal of it depending on how big the lot is actually goes through the rubble in to the actual -- itself. The water then drains into the -- naturally. On and all that rain that comes off the street angles and to the lot is not going into the pipes which means it's gonna. You know it's gonna reduce that flooding. It's not gonna back at it it's not -- back exactly. And it makes a lot of sense to it works other places these have been on have gone through some big rain falls. Over the past several months and they work. Com it takes a great deal of them to have a huge impact. -- with us. -- in our city. But you know we've done five of them and I think it's working with the sewage water board and other organizations and actually on some of these other greening projects ensuring that they can also. Retain water on site. Will it. Begin to create a network for us not to be able to relieve some of the pressure off of our system pipes. And be able to do more naturally the other thing is we're talking about during the break. Is and I've learned this from our local engineers that when the water goes into the lots. When he goes and soaks through the soil it actually come. It's it it gives us a benefit. That reduces that signs. On because it replenish -- the water. Under our solar system here which which is part of the reason. Why. -- has been an issue for us because the waters drained from the soil which. And so it's it's it's a it's a big benefit. It's a step in the right direction clearly we have to do more of these but -- we've tested them. We think they work for those of you who are concerned about mosquitoes we've been working with the mosquito board to make sure they've been monitoring to make sure that. No large or anything like that comes out of this and make sure that the water does go down and doesn't stand and you think that it goes down within 48 out of 48 to 72 hours ago is down and that's as long. As. That's what you want engineer for because if it goes beyond that -- -- do get into the issues of mosquitoes. But and to think all the great mines that are interest in that kind of thing coming up and I'm looking at pitcher is just yes worldwide and we think this before. We have a caller let's go to -- Yeah. You know I want to remind folks -- locked -- one. Along should New Orleans to prolong it couldn't come back any network. Where failed by the world -- -- program. So I think. You know if at all possible. At least can be contacted and given the first option. To -- the property I think it would be at least something. You know in their direction. Other. I think it's a good night. -- -- on the other suggestion I have is why not grow. Calamity law. -- -- either you know citrus plans to offer food to the community anyway have a problem in the city. Alan I think and that's exactly what he's been saying all along is these gardens are going. Two of the neighborhoods and in some cases I'm sure helping whatever she's very much well I think that's a big part of it. Yeah a bit about the wonderful ideas and the the citrus thing I could routine more. I've had success now a citrus on portions -- -- all -- -- they really work down here. I -- income growth potential ground for gosh sakes you know. You know everywhere. It's. We have a lot of crepe myrtle you know that great they're beautiful. But -- you can eat. You can -- and you know what I have. Was going to an exercise class and a woman made a comment you just can't believe the price a lemons and that they had that conversation. The next summer plans are brought them back laments because the amount of it it was like a youth but oh my gosh I -- yes we can do this yet now. Number of people who could become. And I don't know include -- and somewhat I don't know it could be done it. A lot because people couldn't -- rebuild. Thank you for your thoughtfulness I really appreciate and thank you for listening. We're gonna take a break we'll go to the -- ever gonna come back and if you have any. Creative ideas about this give us a call 260187. Thing financial under the that you will. Our guest today just a -- who -- the executive director of New Orleans redevelopment authority. Which has as he sent over 2000 available slots and that's weighed down from 5000. -- bill losses they're thinking creatively. One is the go green which is talking about gardens or anything -- -- -- and I think that's the whole point. Is now you can apply tomorrow you wanna rent a lottery -- it 250 dollars a year beautiful which you -- do with that. Or you could they'll talk price if you -- by the turn but it is a way to. Again get away from just cutting -- And to do something meets the -- look that he was sent Jeff was talking about heat travels. Two other cities who have similar issues and look at what they do. And kind of kind of go there. Yeah I mean we we aren't the only people in the country who face storm water issues in particular but also the issue of having abandoned property. Even fast growing cities that we think about Boston Chicago they have huge issues with legacy abandoned property for one reason or another. On and when we talk about our. Pilot lots that rain gardens. It really hit me that we should. Be more creative about this and do something much. -- A lot faster than we were planning to do I was at a conference in Pittsburgh. And we took a tour and we stopped in a neighborhood not unlike many of our neighborhoods in New Orleans that had -- significant vacancy in the community leader was giving us the tour. And we've stopped at a corner and I looked to the left. And there's this water garden and it was beautiful they also combined it with a green building workshop. For the neighborhood so they could see different types of things about solar panels that. It was a beautiful garden. It had that cut in the curb so that the water to come off the street. And go on into the it into this garden circuit be retained there incentive in the street. You don't think about it at Pittsburgh has the reverse issue for months that kills. Which means the water runs off the hills into the into the flat land and influence there. And so and -- him to be some of your poor neighborhoods in -- city like that and so it retains the water inside it's beautiful and so I thought -- we should be able to do this. We came back to the office. We have some funds from Hyde. A neighborhood initiative grant that senator land true I'm actually. Was instrumental in and now I'm getting for us a few years ago. And it was a great way to use the funds hod approved it they said yeah you can do it and down and that's how that came about it. He get these ideas because we're not the only people that have these issues. But what's interesting is we are. We in New Orleans because. Of that level of creativity in this city and and everybody wanting to do something better. When we get an idea we connect acute pretty quickly so within three months we have this design engineer. And completed. As pilots so that we can roll amount other places in the city and be able launched -- larger program likelier to. That is remarkable to create a -- -- worked with propeller and we just had whole show with them talk about dynamos absolutely what day and it's going to be very briefly say propeller is. You know just the brainchild of very Smart young people who are putting people under one roof. To help them launch their businesses and their ideas and today you know it's a communal. In the sense of I can help you find marketing can help you find it but they just help people and day there'd be parties tonight too which is the otherwise it would academy here. But you were working with them out and tell us what you did and and just did again this week. Yes so. Injury -- and I are friends and we had this idea. Several years ago that you know. We can take the creativity from propeller. And to lots that we haven't Nora and put it out there NC with people come up with as one of their pitch competitions. So in 2012. We did the inaugural lots of progress competition. From taking vacant lots and having folks pitched their idea of what to do with it first prize winner that year. Was a gentleman named David Young. And he got the award money and a lot for months in the -- I report to do a citrus orchard. It is now expanded from one blocked 25 lots and or Ninth Ward. And yes citrus there that is goes back to the community which is what the caller was talking about before. So was so successful as we started looking at some other ideas. We work with some students from New York University do some research on. Some of the lots that we have better commercially. Zone not just residential. And try to. Look at those and come up with some ideas for some possibly pop up commercial ideas of some of those innovative things so. 2014. We're working with propeller on a new. Lots of progress competition. That will happen in August. Just a couple days ago we announced it. And the application is on propellers -- outside and Norris website for the lots of progress for a 2014 so we're now looking for ideas. You'll get a prize from and it's been donated by Entergy a cash prize to go along with your ideas so you can implement. And again what you good on the website is if you wanna make a pitch that's right system like that that's right. The pictures and from what we're doing green here at the pitchers for the propeller. That's -- trying to separate but they're -- they're similar in that we're using a vacant lot but you're gonna come up with hopefully in. Sort of an economic development type idea. To do something on the vacant lot but it it's breathtaking when you're talking about the young -- to start with one lot. And now is that 25 that's right he can he really has an orchard yes. And he's branched off into other. Locally grown things as well just beyond the citrus and I think that's a great example of how you can take a small idea. And really with the help of propeller and and their whole a philosophy there and helping people achieve their goals. Really take it to scale. Like today -- anybody's driving along I hope your brain is thinking what could I do what could I did stay with us we'll be right back I'm Angela under the that you -- Just say there are very special guest with the New Orleans redevelopment authority and we got a caller let's go to bill Dillon mentoring. Hi thank you a particular call on -- excited about getting higher. I've been an idea is that that we do on our people of the city. An omelet bar opportunity. -- for lack a better term call for a row. And -- perhaps undeveloped property that we could. In theory government. Process. Develop an error propaganda. To grant wrote to grow vegetable on our. Whatever and I've just about run into Apple's brick walls some of these Perino. I don't have a viable I'm not that I think would be a tremendous opportunity I think it would be great. -- Investment for some. Community process. Development and ask you about your opinion. -- -- I think that's exactly why this program was created. West to be able to a facilitate. People who want to do something you're calling it -- a row. You know you can take. One or two of the lots and be able to pitcher rose and for growing vessels and that sort of thing. I know that the air ARP has been. Really involved in several neighborhoods in New Orleans. In working on some of these issues and I'm sure they would be happy to. To help work on that as well but that's exactly what this program is for Tom if year if you -- property here in New Orleans to do it. You can rented. And the easiest way and I'll just say this really quickly is too. Call our office 504658. 4400. Our go to our website. -- works -- or but that's exactly. While this was created to be able to facilitate. With community wants to do in exact and it. Particularly things like that so. Celebrity -- outside. But again place. It's www. Norah you know art and works WOR KS. Dot pork. And you'll be able to click on and see the various lots and where they're located and the need to drive by take a look at them. And again you got the -- that it was 250 dollars a year to rent the entire lot. And then we we do would commit to various care went absolutely zero but eggs I think this is a great meeting of the minds bill. Your new best friend is just -- They got it under your right up thing of of wanting to create a beautiful garden keeping active. And improving its. That that area. I'd give it still and I think that you could it involve multiple people on Arroyo an area and a lot seventy I -- You know. A road that security -- in part -- feet Omnia -- B control lot of. And grow on a lot yes. I just think a good idea I'm just I've been. I'm different corporate law and promote business summit of the -- not gotten any response. So Miami next. I guess what -- Tuesday email moral. -- Nor Aurora works dot org -- look at that website and see specifically. What he's talking about there are again. Over 2000 lots in our area that are sitting vacant and this concept. Is to beautify them make them functional. And where they can produce things. So it's exactly what you're talking about but it is the rental or the buying of those individual lots that's correct that's correct. If you would would be it would indeed I don't I am not capable of buying off. -- would yeah AARP the anatomy it would be something else being. Dual development associated. Very inning and -- I guess. I've I've I've given you my idea and I don't know article that I'm here. So bill I think I think you have a great idea you raised a good point we will actually I'll take it upon myself. Tomorrow I roll call are local ARP office. And they've done a lot of community work in New Orleans and see. What their interest isn't working maybe with some of this senior groups on who may want to participate in this program to I think that's a very good idea. I think you if you could promote an -- and they are supported -- RP. Not a world but deported then you can. You can -- -- out technical on. And people get people -- PR. I wanna remind everybody again that number for Nora. Is 658440658. 4400. If you have any questions and all get -- is he said there is a person at the end of the -- -- Which is every reason to call just to hear that person a -- And also go on the network -- Bill you are wonderful to be thinking along these lines and a great mind to thinking alike. Why I've been watching -- of 41 Mary's not there I was a child you a I was a child and. I appreciate the opportunity I can't tell you how to program that and I happened to be just perusing. Mine. Radio. Milan so -- again on 878. They'll think I'm very very much you very much stay with -- everyone will be right back I'm Angela under the that you will.