Enterprise Community Partners is raising the stakes of their Green Communities investment by placing $80,000 in grants in Cleveland neighborhoods that have shown a commitment to sustainability. Enterprise is a national funder of affordable—and in the last decade, ‘green built’—homes, with a local office that has supported development such as pedestrian-friendly Tremont Pointe.
Enterprise will expand its "green and affordable" strategy from housing to community scale with a shot of investment capital—$40,000 each to Detroit-Shoreway and Burten Bell Carr. The non-profit community organizations will use the funds to produce a community-based compost facility and a complete street project, respectively.
“Enterprise decided to expand its focus beyond housing and ask, what does a sustainable neighborhood look like?” says Mark McDermott, VP and Ohio Market Leader for Enterprise.
Cleveland was the only city to win two grants.
“The (national) Green Communities office sees Cleveland as a national leader in sustainability,” McDermott adds.
In addition, the Cleveland Enterprise office secured a $15,000 grant from the George Gund Foundation to the city of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability. It will be matched by a $12,000 grant from the World Wildlife Fund for the creation of “eco-districts” a place-based strategy that, in Cleveland’s case, will be tied to implementing its soon-to-be released Climate Action Plan.
The grants will also help create a “toolkit” that any neighborhood group could use to promote, for example, greener transportation or local food production. Part of the funding will be used for neighborhood-level surveys of how, for example, a neighborhood with a majority of the population living without a car gets around, and strategies to improve their options.
Burten Bell Carr will use the grant to design a complete street on Kinsman Road between E. 55th and E. 89th streets. Enterprise program officer, Michelle Mulcahy, explains:
“I think that one of the most compelling things about this proposal is it ties together recent investment along Kinsman, from the Urban Ag Innovation Zone, Heritage View (infill multi-family development), Cornucopia (community kitchen) and GreenCity Growers (Evergreen Cooperative’s $20 million greenhouse on a brownfield).
“There’s a lot going on in this neighborhood in creating those assets. The road needs to be pedestrianized for them to to be accessible.”
For Detroit-Shoreway, the community compost facility grew out of a idea hatched at a public design charrette. It will be the fulfillment of a long-held dream of residents who were attracted to the area because of its proximity to the lake, its local economy returning in small businesses and for some, the promise held in creating a Cleveland EcoVillage.
“They’re looking for a way to create a business and engage business and restaurants to sell the compost,” Mulcahy says about the Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Organization-led project. The compost facility could be supplied by the residents and restaurants.
Some of grant funds will be used to expand access to lower income families to the neighbornood farmer’s market.
“They will survey residents about their access to local food and use of farmer’s market, focusing on EBT eligible residents,” she says. “They will figure out how to better serve the whole community.”
Mulcahy has been engaged in a conversation about eco-districts with Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability and Neighborhood Progress Inc. when it emerged at a Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit.
“An eco-district is taking a geographic area and layering in comprehensive sustainability initiatives,” she says, “We’re focused on community-driven projects that have been identified through a neighborhood engagement process. Along with the city and Land Studio and (community development organizations), we’re meeting to figure out how to implement and try to align it with city programs.”
Indeed, having the vision in place for an eco-district will bring the city’s Climate Action Plan to ground sooner, McDermott says.
“If we hadn’t been helping to spearhead the eco-district conversation for a year and a half, the opportunity to bring the Climate Action Plan work down to a neighborhood level wouldn’t have come about,” he says. “You do want to look for opportunities to grab resources and make it happen.”