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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEWORLEANS-- Time is running out if you've been eyeing that Katrina-ravaged lot next door.

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is ending its Lot Next Door program at the end of this month.

Eyewitness News looked into what will happen to those properties still up for grabs once it's over.

'We have seven grandchildren and another one of the way and a great grandchild. It's more room for them to run around and play in,' said Julie Maggio of the extra lot her family purchased from the city.

'There was no doubt to me. Home is where your heart is,' said Julie Maggio about returning with her husband Frank to rebuild after the storm.

Eventually the couple would buy the neighboring property next door through the city's Lot Next Door program. The couple would like to see it continue.

'There are a lot of people who couldn't quite afford it or didn't realize the advantages to it. Maybe they'll come to take advantage of it,' said Julie Maggio.

However, on Dec. 31, 'Lot Next Door' sunsets. The original 2007 program was extended earlier this year.

Anyone interested in a neighboring, abandoned NORA property has until the end of this month to speak up. NORA confirms 1700 lots are still available across the city.

'This is sort of the last phase of the Lot Next Door program. The qualification period expires Aug. 1,' said NORA Executive Director Jeff Hebert.

NORA started out with 5,000 abandoned Road Home properties. Hebert says the number shrunk to 2,000 thanks to popular programs like Lot Next Door.

On its second go-around, Hebert says there have been 380 expressions of interest on properties citywide. Once the program ends, any extra properties will be open to everyone.

'Starting in August you'll be able to go online and express interest in a property. Those that receive two or more expressions of interest will go into the next auction, which we're scheduling for November,' said Hebert.

As for the Maggio's, they continue to enjoy the empty lot they chose to jump on.

'We had a big water slide in the lot. The kids were playing in the swimming pool. All sorts of things. It's fun seeing the young ones enjoy,' said Julie of a recent grandchild's birthday party.

The deadline to submit your on-line expression of interest in a Lot Next Door property is August 1.

NORA says Dec. 1 is when it will start closing on those properties.

For more information, click here

Editor's Note: Inaccurate information provided by NORA stated that the deadline to apply for the Lot Next Door program was July 31. The correct deadline to apply on-line is actually Aug. 1.

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