A nonprofit, community development corporation dedicated to improving Calumet Region neighborhoods.

programs > best house on the block contest®

The "after" photo of 1112 W. 143rd Street in East
Chicago in 2009. First place winners in the contest.

The Neighborhoods Inc. Best House on the Block Contest® is a simple, effective mechanism for generating curb appeal improvements and stimulating community pride.

The Best House on the Block Contest® evolved from a 2002 “Meadows in Bloom” landscaping contest in Hammond’s Meadows neighborhood that drew 14 participants resulting in $12,000 in improvements with a $900 investment. Previously, NI coordinated several holiday decorating contests in the State Line area of Hammond and Calumet City. The outcomes of these projects indicated that a competitive improvement contest generates widespread participation and the same concept might work in a competitive contest for larger-scale curb appeal improvements.

How It Works
NI subsequently developed and patented an exterior property improvement competition called the Best House on the Block Contest®. Homeowners in a pre-determined target area are mailed information to enter and send in completed entry forms stating specifically what improvements will be made. The contest period lasts approximately 5-7 months. All participants who complete their projects are rewarded with cash prizes. The contest also spurs “spinoff” improvements from neighbors who spruce up their properties as a result of seeing contestants’ projects but don’t enter the contest.

This project has been successfully implemented in Hammond, East Chicago, Highland, Calumet City and Burnham with quantifiable results that you can view here.


Before and after photos:

Calumet City Before Calumet City After
Calument City Before Calumet City After
East Chicago Before East Chicago After
East Chicago Before East Chicago After
Hammond Before Hammond After
Hammond Before Hammond Before