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Keep Tyler Beautiful was a recent recipient of the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partner’s grant. With this grant money, we partnered with the Tyler’s Cotton Belt Railroad Historical Society and chose a lot that is across the street from their museum. This lot, located in the heart of our downtown area, was overgrown and needed some intense devotion. Our vision was to create a small parklet that honored the Railroad history and created a green space for families to enjoy. We named this parklet the Cotton Belt Crossing. With this money, we were able to start phase one of this extremely significant project. We cleared out the lot, which included a couple dead trees, an old broken brick wall, overgrown weeds, and some rather large materials that had been illegally dumped. Our City of Tyler street department was able to go in and level the lot, which saved us some money, thankfully. We, then, paid a landscape company to come in to grade the lot, layout mulch, and plant 2 small flower beds at the parklet’s entrance. Since this lot is in the downtown district and we are continuously looking for ways to revitalize the area, the Heart of Tyler, a nonprofit group completely dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Tyler, agreed to pay for a parklet sign. They partnered with a local artist who created an entrance sign and a gate specifically for this parklet. The Cotton Belt Railroad Historical Society was able to get some tracks laid in preparation for our phase two of the project, which will be completed at a later time after we find some additional funding. The phase two part of the plan will be to install irrigation, get some benches for seating and bring a 90 foot railroad car back to Tyler, restore it and put it on display for the public to enjoy. This parklet has been placed right next to our new Innovation Pipeline building, which will bring those together to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the City of Tyler. A little bit of our history, right next to our future.

Keep Tyler Beautiful, Tyler, TX

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Keep Cincinnati Beautiful's Price Hill Vacant Lots Occupied Project put unused vacant property to good use by planting trees, along with other food-bearing plants, to give these properties new life, while providing access to healthy, natural food to residents of Price Hill. Cincinnati's Price Hill is made up of three neighborhoods: Lower, East and West Price Hill, with some 40,000 people all being served by one grocery store. Many residents struggle to access healthy foods in the area, because of topography and ability. The intention of this project is twofold -- manage the vacant land with something other than mowing, and grow food and other useful materials as close to residents as possible to increase access and improve the health and well-being of those who live, work and play in Price Hill! This is a long-term project that will take several years to complete, but thanks to The UPS Foundation and Keep America Beautiful, we have made significant progress toward making food more accessible in low-income areas of Price Hill, and improving the appearance of its blighted vacant lots. Thus far, two large vacant lots have been cleaned up, and re-planted with trees (primarily fruit-bearing), and other plantings; two more lots are being prepared for planting in the fall of 2017. The most wonderful part of this project has been the engagement from the community and partner organizations. Several neighbors have become interested in happenings on the vacant lots adjacent to their homes and got involved, either by helping to water plants, keeping an eye on things, or planting a fruit tree in their own front yard for public use. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful was able to give away 22 fruit trees to individuals who are planting them in their front yards to create accessibility and community conversations around growing and preserving their own food. KCB also developed strong partnerships with organizations like Turner Farms -- a working farm located in Indian Hill, Ohio, committed to growing food organically and sustainably. Turner Farms has committed to working on building a community garden adjacent to the community library and recreation center, and educating residents on how to grow their own food.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Cincinnati, OH

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Keep Charleston Beautiful was a recent recipient of a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant. As part of the proposed grant project, Keep Charleston Beautiful partnered with a local organization, The Compost Rangers, in an effort to build a healthier community by connecting schools, restaurants, and local businesses to a grassroots compost initiative in the City of Charleston.This was done by collecting organic waste from local establishments and transporting the material via bicycle to school gardens. By partnering with the schools, The Compost Rangers now have the ability to educate students about their waste, the environment, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Grant funds were used to construct composting cubes at three elementary school locations, as well as raised garden beds which will later house the finished compost and give the students a space for planting edibles and pollinator species. Improving recycling -- and waste reduction through organics collections -- is one of Keep Charleston Beautiful’s missions. Food recycling can be easily overlooked, but is an integral part of making that mission a success. And there's little doubt that Charleston, South Caroline, is a food town, with an equally prevalent food problem. Charleston and its community are plagued by two food issues: 1) lack of accessibility to fresh affordable produce in low socio-economic status neighborhoods, and 2) lack of education about food waste and food recycling among our community members. Delicious and organically grown vegetables are plentiful in the fine dining restaurants that abound throughout Charleston, while the city’s lower income neighborhoods lack easily accessible, healthy, and affordable produce. The second problem addresses food waste and the lack of education surrounding its ability to be recycled and reused. The average American wastes about 20 lbs. of food each year. It is estimated that 40 percent of the food in the United States goes uneaten, and only 3 percent of that discarded food is composted. The Compost Rangers, a nonprofit with a mission to augment the composting in Charleston, make it its mission to address these community needs by operating as the connective tissue among local businesses, gardens, and schools, with food waste as their medium. The food waste is hauled via bicycle to community gardens, where it’s recycled into compost, and then used to grow produce (i.e. rubbish is now the resource). Keep Charleston Beautiful and our community partners are so thankful to have received the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant, without which this project would not be possible. We would like to especially thank Lowe’s for their generosity, as well as the involvement of their Lowe’s Heroes volunteers on community projects across the nation.

Keep Charleston Beautiful; Charleston, SC

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