CHICAGO, Oct. 5 -- The Chicago Department of Community Development issued the following news release:
The City Council today approved plans that will enable the development of a North Side nature preserve, a South Side urban farm, and a West Side community garden.
"Chicago's natural areas, whether they're used for growing food or for recreation, are essential to neighborhood health and well being. These proposals will help reinforce the City's commitment to improving and expanding these local assets," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
Rosehill Nature Preserve
The nature prserve will be developed on 21 acres of woods and wetlands that will be purchased by the City on the northwest corner of Rosehill Cemetery at 5900 N. Western Ave.
To be acquired for $7.8 million, the property will eventually be transferred to the Chicago Park District for public use.
The site was never developed for cemetery purposes. It includes mixed woodlands and a seven-acre pond that are identified in Chicago's "Nature and Wildlife Plan" as forming part of a unique, natural landscape within the Lincoln Square community.
Tax Increment Financing and tax exempt bonds will be used to purchase the property and dredge the pond. Future enhancements will involve new trails and wildlife viewing platforms.
Honore Street Farm
The urban farm will be created through the sale of 10 pacels of City-owned land for use by Growing Home, an organic farming business that provides transitional job training to homeless and low-income individuals.
The parcels, located on the 5800 blocks of South Wolcott and Honore streets, will be used by Growing Home to raise organic produce that will be sold to community residents and at farmers markets. The proposed sale price is $1 for all 10 parcels.
The NeighborSpace land trust will own the land and Growing Home will manage the property as Honore Street Farm, which will serve as an extension of its nearby Wood Street Farm.
The community garden will be developed on one parcel of City-owned land at 545 N. Central Park Ave., which will be used to grow vegetables in raised beds. Plans also call for a walking path, shed, compost bin and rain barrel.
The City will sell the 5,900-square-foot site for $1 to the NeighborSpace land trust, which will provide liability insurance for the local Humboldt Park residents that will provide day-to-day upkeep. Residents have named the garden "Ujima," a swahili term for collaboration.
The City's GreenCorps program will fund the installation and maintenance of the garden as part of an initiative aimed at unifying the community and promoting healthy living.
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