cleveland neighborhood progress awards funds for urban green space improvements

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress has awarded $340,000 to nine community development corporations for green space improvements in Cleveland neighborhoods. The funds, which stem from the WellsFargo CityLIFT program as part of a multimillion dollar national settlement, will be used to fund side yards, pocket parks, pathway parks and street-edge improvements across the city.

"We feel this is very impactful," says Joel Ratner, President of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. "Every day there are more vacant lots in Cleveland. The vast majority of them are scattered sites. How do we repurpose them in a way that supports neighborhoods? Urban agriculture is great, but you usually need larger pieces of land. This is a way of supporting the people that live on these streets."

Through a competitive process, CNP awarded funds to a pocket park adjacent to the E. 79th Street rapid station in Central, a pathway park in Tremont, and side yards in Stockyards, Brooklyn Centre and Clark-Fulton, among others.

The work will be completed on these lots in the spring and summer of 2014, with all improvements slated to be completed by November 2014.

"This is about the psychology of the neighborhood on some basic level," says Ratner. "It shows people their neighborhoods have not been forgotten. There may be many development opportunities in the medium or long-term future, but in the meantime, we want to keep the streets as strong as possible."

The grants were awarded as part of ReImagining Cleveland 3.0, a program whose earlier rounds fostered urban agriculture and greening projects across Cleveland.

Cleveland has been recognized nationally as a leader in urban agriculture and neighborhood greening as a response to population loss and the foreclosure crisis.

Source: Joel Ratner
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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