Millions spent on upkeep of empty Katrina lots

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Associated Press

Posted on July 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 16 at 1:02 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — More than 3,000 lots flooded by Hurricane Katrina and bought with federal money in an emergency bailout sit idle across this city — a major drain on federal, state and city coffers that lends itself to no easy solution.

An Associated Press examination of the properties sold by homeowners abandoning New Orleans after the catastrophic 2005 flood has found that about $86 million has been spent on handling a total of 5,100 abandoned parcels.

And there's no end in sight to maintenance costs.

For now the city says it has about 750 prospective buyers. Still, it expects having to hold onto many parcels. It's also looking at how to transform empty lots into something else — maybe tree nurseries, dog parks, urban farms or outdoor laboratories for biologists.

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