Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) has partnered with the Westmoreland County Land Bank and Jeannette, Pennsylvania, residents to provide a seed grant to transform a blighted property into a community garden via “The Seeds of Change Project.”
The plan is to use $2,000 to rehabilitate an abandoned lot on Clay Ave., currently littered with trash and debris. To gradually beautify the parcel, the first step will be a Dec. 5 cleanup, followed by raised gardens, a greenhouse and more — all anchored by a serene outdoor seating area.
“Community revitalization is so critical, but resources are limited,” Shannon Reiter, the organization’s president, said. “When it comes to community greening, a little can go a long way if it is done right. Through this pilot, KPB is leveraging resources by coordinating investments with economic and community planning already underway and then engaging local community organizations to nurture long-term community stewardship.”
KPB wants to empower Pennsylvania citizens to improve their communities. Its Strategic Community Greening Partnership Pilot program, supported by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, hopes to fund two to four Westmoreland County green reuse initiatives in partnership with the Land Bank, asking for a 50 percent community match for tools, equipment or other necessities. Eligible sites will be considered by local stakeholders who conclude that green-open space reuse is the optimum choice for each project.
“Communities like Jeannette are mobilizing local community groups to take back their towns,” April Kopas, Westmoreland County Land Bank’s executive director, said. “The Land Bank makes it possible for volunteers and local leaders to come together as neighbors to create a better community image … on a once-blighted property. We are so appreciative of the funding from KPB toward this community garden.”
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