RePlay is a national effort led by ESPN and LISC to revitalize vacant spaces into places for sports, recreation and play. With support from ESPN in providing grants for planning and implementation, along with LISC’s technical assistance to local, community-based groups and other qualified organizations, we hope to bring vitality back to local neighborhoods by creating courts, playgrounds and other safe places for youth to play and communities to thrive. RePlay is also made possible with the generous support of Under Armour.
Vacant lots and properties adversely affect communities in numerous interconnected ways. They are more than just eyesores -- they create a cycle of blight. Research has shown that vacant lots and abandoned properties increase police drug and violence calls, lower property values for the surrounding properties, and erode social cohesion and neighborhood pride. Vacant lots can be potential challenges for cities across America. Residents may see vacant spaces in their neighborhoods with great potential to develop and bring vitality back to their communities, but there are many hurdles to overcome and issues to address to successfully turn vacant spaces into fun places.
The goal of the ESPN RePlay program is to repurpose vacant spaces and increase access to quality recreational opportunities in low to moderate income neighborhoods in Los Angeles, CA, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. LISC will identify projects and provide technical assistance to local residents and community groups, and assist them from the predevelopment and construction phases to project completion.
Nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizational partners can play a leading role in converting vacant lots into active recreational spaces. With experience in both real estate development and community building, many of these organizations possess the capacity to address both the capital aspects of land development and the program elements (i.e., youth sports tournaments, science fairs, summer festivals, community celebrations and after-school events). Equally important, neighborhood-based organizations have connections to their community that legitimize their operations and draw resident support for their work. Local residents need to have a sense of ownership and see themselves as stakeholders in the creation and maintenance of recreational spaces in order for them to be protected and preserved for long-term use.
The 12 community organizations to receive grants totaling $330,000 to help transform vacant lots into sports, recreation and play spaces.
To be eligible for the ESPN RePlay program, organizations applying for grant funds must meet all of the criteria listed below: