The National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program plans to dole out $15 million to cities to develop urban greenspace this year.
Last year, the program’s first, just $3 million was split among eight cities. In Mobile, Alabama, that money is helping to transform a neglected stormwater channel into a greenway.
In Detroit, it’s reviving an athletic center on the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Belle Isle Park.
And in Portland, $500,000 is helping a nonprofit hire local minority and female contractors to turn a former construction landfill into a park for an underserved neighborhood.
Cully is “a very park-deprived and habitat-deprived neighborhood,” says Alan Hipólito, executive director of nonprofit Verde. Cully residents live more than half a mile from a developed park or natural area, in one of the state’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, with a population that is 41 percent Hispanic.
Verde works to bring environmental infrastructure to low-income neighborhoods, while creating training and employment opportunities for low-income adults, women and people of color.
Their landscape contracting business, for example, hires residents of a local community development corporation’s affordable housing units to do landscape maintenance, including for the Hacienda Community Development Corporation itself.