Vacant lots in 6 cities to become tree farms, ag plots


ST. LOUIS (AP) — As St. Louis’ population has dropped by more than half over the past seven decades, thousands of lots of vacant land now dot the landscape, especially on the city’s north side. A new program seeks to put that vacant land to good use.

Mayor Francis Slay and leaders of Chicago-based Fresh Coast Capital on Thursday announced a $1 million effort to develop vacant land in St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, and four other communities into tree farms, urban agriculture and other green projects.

Other cities involved in the project include Youngstown, Ohio, Elkhart, Indiana, and the Michigan cities of Battle Creek and Flint.

Fresh Coast is taking 60 acres of land in the six cities and plans to plant 27,000 trees.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that the Indiana city involved in the project is Elkhart, not Gary.