On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Grounds for Peace, a new program designed to beautify 50 vacant city-owned lots on the city’s South and West sides.
In addition to eliminating neighborhood blight, which can often contribute to crime, the program will employ and rehabilitate 50 at-risk individuals by providing hands-on job training in the field of landscaping and property maintenance.
“Today, we’re bringing life and opportunities back into community spaces that have been left empty for decades,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a statement. “Transforming our vacant lots into beautiful, open green spaces not only fosters safer streets and stronger communities but also contributes to a cleaner and healthier Chicago.”
For Grounds for Peace, the city partnered with Heartland Alliance’s READI (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) program and the Urban Growers Collective. The organizers hope the initial $250,000 pilot will become a model for fighting blight and violence in other parts of the city.
The program will bring new landscaping and gardens to lots in Chicago’s North Lawndale, Woodlawn, and Englewood communities. According to the city, these sites were selected based on their proximity to communities with violent crime and high concentrations of city-owned land.
WATCH: The Mayor joins @HeartlandHelps and @UGrowCollective to launch the City's new vacant lot beautification pilot program. Part of an employment development program, it will train participants to landscape and maintain empty lots. https://t.co/AmBAO1Pk2D— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 2, 2019