Vacant lot chalkboards ask what neighbors want to see in the space

Photo by Rakeem

Photo by Rakeem Bradshaw, University of Kentucky Landscape Architecture student

If you’re passing through Portland this weekend, you might see something that is part art installation and part solution: two giant chalkboards in vacant lots asking for feedback as to what to do with the spaces.

On Saturday, June 13, there will be a walking tour of the neighborhood starting at the ACE Hardware on West Market Street. The tour starts at 10 a.m.

The program is an initiative of the Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Team. In this third and final year of the Bloomberg grant, the team has a deep focus on vacant and abandoned properties, especially those located around the upcoming FoodPort. Louisville Chief of Civic Innovation Ted Smith says that having an economic development anchor like the FoodPort is key to filling vacant and abandoned properties.

Louis R. Johnson, whose background is in urban design and landscape architecture, volunteered with the project and called it a “labor of love.” Johnson was part of the Lots of Possibilities program last year, also focused on vacant and abandoned properties. That program was a contest — people and organizations pitched ideas for vacant lots and the winners got to use the lot either temporarily or permanently. While his idea, a BBQ Park, was not chosen, he did work with Colleen Cline on the DyeScape garden to grow natural plants used in dyes for Cline’s Anchal Project.

Youthbuild has been engaged to build and paint the actual chalkboards.

Expect to see more acts of tactical urbanism in West Louisville soon.