Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Parkview Gardens in Full Bloom: An Update on Lots of Green

In only a month's time since the Communicator last reported on the subject, lots of progress has occurred on the YNDC's Lots of Green pilot program in Idora Neighborhood. Several of the neighborhood's newly planted community gardens are in full bloom, and neighborhood residents and youth are busily watering plants and trees while contractors continue to deconstruct dilapidated homes to make way for expansion.
Lots of Green is an initiative to re-utilize vacant land in Youngstown for productive green space uses including reforestation, passive green space, expanded yards for residents, community gardens, and other practical purposes. YNDC hopes to use the successes of  Lots of Green to create a workable model for sustainable vacant property reclamation that can be implemented to in neighborhoods all across the city and in other communities nation-wide.

So far, this program has been a great success. Over 75 neighborhood residents are active participants in the gardens and hundreds have become involved in the program as a whole. Over 115 lots have been affected

In the video above, Ian Beniston, YNDC's Assistant Director, talks about the Lots of Green program and progress in one of the neighborhood's larger gardens, Parkview Neighborhood Garden.

Monday, July 26, 2010

CDA Proposes Gray to Green Project to EPA

Today, the Community Development Agency is submitting a project proposal application for the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Showcase Communities grant. The Climate Showcase Communities Grant Program's goal is to fund programs that "create replicable models of sustainable community action that generate cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions while improving the environmental, economic, public health, or social conditions in a community."

Youngstown's proposal, titled Youngstown Neighborhood Transformation: Gray to Green Project is a comprehensive program aimed at making inner-city neighborhoods in Youngstown healthier, greener, and more sustainable through three primary activities: deconstruction, home energy-efficiency retrofitting, and vacant lot reclamation. This project proposal will tackle the larger environmental problems of greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste management by building community partnerships, generating jobs and stabilizing struggling neighborhoods on a tight, efficient budget.

The Gray to Green program proposal will expand upon the existing partnership between the CDA, YNDC, Global Green USA, MVOC, MYCAP and Mill Creek MetroParks to accomplish its objectives. All six organizations have committed to match the funding request with well over the required amount of in-kind revenue and volunteered staff time during both the planning and implementation phases of the project.

Gray to Green, not to be confused with the Grey to Green Festival (though certainly related in outlook) will target its three activities in several declining inner-city neighborhoods across the city in hopes to build a replicable implementation model for deconstruction, vacant lot reclamation, and housing retrofits that can be employed in other neighborhoods across the city and in other cities struggling from neighborhood instability and serious environmental concerns.