CHICAGO -- Fresh Coast Capital is announcing an initial $1 million investment toward the revitalization of urban land in Battle Creek and Flint, St. Louis and Kansas City, Youngstown, Ohio and Elkhart, Ind. into beautiful, productive green space that can build urban climate resiliency.
In its role as project developer and investment manager, Fresh Coast Capital will finance and convert vacant land in the Midwest into working landscapes composed of trees, flowers and urban agriculture.
In Battle Creek, the project will take place on the former Wilson School site on Spring Street. Currently, the city is responsible for maintenance of this tax-exempt, city-owned property. Fresh Coast Capital will take over the care and maintenance, according to an agreement with the city.
The plan for the Spring Street site is to plant hybrid poplar trees, which are tall and thin. They can grow up to 60 feet tall in 12 to 15 years. These trees take up to three times the amount of water of an average tree and has been shown to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and contaminant levels in runoff and wastewater.
The trees will be harvested for bio-fuel after five years, then 12 to 15 years.
The Spring Street site has sat vacant for decades. The city and Calhoun County Land Bank have been involved in discussions as to whether there are other locations in the city that would benefit from this project.
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"Working landscapes" of trees, flowers and urban agriculture are developed in underutilized areas to beautify and revitalize the ecosystem and community. By design, these landscapes include features that, in some cases, create financial opportunity for local residents and, in other cases, lower project costs for cities through their eventual harvest.
This $1 million fund will invest in 60 acres of pilot projects across six cities, resulting in an estimated 27,000 trees planted, 60 acres greened and 28 million pounds of carbon dioxide sequestered over 15 years. In addition, the trees will passively manage stormwater and contribute to cities' climate resiliency efforts.
"The Fresh Coast model partners with forward-thinking municipalities to turn vacant land - which is seen as a liability - into a unique and attractive asset," said CEO and co-founder Nicole Chavas.
Fresh Coast Capital was founded in 2014 with a mission of revitalizing vacant land. Additional information is available at www.freshcoastcapital.com.
The White House Roundtable on Environmental Conservation and Restoration Finance was a forum for over $2 billion in private investment commitments toward environmental conservation and restoration. At the roundtable, Fresh Coast first announced its $1 million investment. More information is at www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/07/fact-sheet-2-billion-new-private-sector-investments-protect-natural.