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PitchNOLA 2012 looking to make ‘lots of progress’ with New Orleans’ vacant properties

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Seems that vacant lots and blighted properties have become part of the scenery of New Orleans. With houses and businesses torn down and built elsewhere after Hurricane Katrina, many of these lots just stand empty waiting for the right person to come along and make the area useful again.
Well, PitchNOLA 2012, a program of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation (previously known as ‘Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans’) is looking to do just that with vacant properties in New Orleans…making them viable parts of New Orleans with “creative and sustainable uses that improve the community.”
Marketing and Program Associate Julia Stewart of Propeller explained, “PitchNOLA: Lots of Progress is one of two tracks of the larger umbrella of PitchNOLA 2012. It’s an elevator pitch competition open to anyone in the Greater New Orleans area and it’s specifically for people who have an innovative idea for how to use a blighted or vacant property in New Orleans. As you know, since Katrina, New Orleans has had a real problem with blighted houses with 35,000 blighted or vacant properties. We’ve partnered with Tulane University and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) to see what solutions people might have to return these blighted properties back to community benefits.”
The competition is open to anyone living in the Greater New Orleans area. If you know of a vacant lot and have a creative way of utilizing that lot for the community, then this competition’s for you! “The first step would be to submit an online application that basically would describe a summary of your idea, how you plan to utilize the vacant lot, and how that idea will benefit the community or the environment,” said Julia. “You must also submit a site plan as part of your idea and on our website, there are two examples of sight plans. One of the plans is very rough and looks like a child’s drawing because we really want to encourage people, young and old, to apply to this. It doesn’t have to be technical; you don’t have to elaborate on the details of your project. We’ll help you along with that.”
She continued, “We’re going to be judging these applications on three things: the viability of the plan, the financial or organizational stability, and the potential social or environmental impact. Ten semi-finalists will be selected and they will present their pitch in front of a panel of judges and audience members at PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress, which will take place on November 15. From there, a first, second, and third place winner will be selected.”
Want to enter, but having trouble finding a property? No problem, PitchNOLA's got it figured out. “There’s an online map that you can access from our website that actually shows all thirty-two properties that are available. We’re really encouraging applicants to go out to those sites to help generate ideas and also to see what they’ll be working with. First, second, and third place winners will be able to select a plot of their choice out of those thirty-two.”
Keep in mind that the deadline is October 22, 2012. So, make your pitch a reality and let’s continue to revamp and rebuild our city!

WHAT: PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progess (New Orleans has thousands of vacant properties. Pitch an idea that utilizes vacant lots to benefit the community. Choose an available lot from the selection to make your pitch a reality.)
WHEN: Application deadline is October 22

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 October 2012
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