New artist colony to open in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The City of West Palm Beach has turned to local artists to help turn around a neighborhood long at the center of urban blight.

The Community Redevelopment Association said it expected to have eight apartments in the Pleasant City neighborhood renovated by January.

Artists would be able to rent the apartments -- in the area known as Lot 23 -- for a discounted rent in exchange for community service.

Artists would pay $400 per month in exchange for 16 hours of community service and as little as $300 per month in exchange for 24 hours of community service.

"No one has ever done that before so it's pretty exciting," said Grace Joyce, a redevelopment administrator at the City of West Palm Beach. "The hope is that more artists will come in and not only revitalize Northwood Village but also the Pleasant City community."

Cole Rippe, a music producer and disc jockey, was the first artist chosen by the City to move into Lot 23.

"I'm teaching music production to the kids in Pleasant City in return to get a reduced rent," he said. "Giving back is [something] I want to make [an] every day thing."

The Community Redevelopment Association began to accept applications on Friday.

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