City of St. Louis Welcomes Urban Tree Farmers to Vacant Land

Fresh Coast Capital Begins Planting

July 12, 2016 | 2 min reading time

This article is 8 years old. It was published on July 12, 2016.

Planting hybrid poplars that will be harvested by Fresh Coast Capital in about 7 years.

ST. LOUIS -- The City of St. Louis is welcoming back Fresh Coast Capital to begin planting a tree farm on 42 parcels of vacant property owned by the City's Land Reutilization Authority (LRA), the oldest land bank in the country.

In accordance with the Mayor's Sustainability Action Agenda on Urban Character, Vitality & Ecology, LRA has made the parcels available for just $1 to Fresh Coast Capital for its smart, productive, creative re-use of the land.

"I'm happy to see these new trees going in to begin breathing new life into some of our vacant and abandoned land," Mayor Slay said. "Fresh Coast's urban tree farms will turn 42 unused lots from a liability that costs the City thousands of dollars a year to maintain to an asset for the community. This innovative reuse of land will create a more sustainable, resilient neighborhood."

Fresh Coast Capital's crews will begin planting the hybrid poplars in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at the corner of Clara and St. Edwards Avenues.

The creation of this urban tree farm is another piece of Mayor Slay's concentrated effort to tackle vacancy and abandonment:

  • Selection into the Community Progress Leadership Institute has provided technical assistance to the City.
  • Mow to Own allows City residents to take immediate ownership of vacant LRA-owned parcels adjacent to their property if the resident agrees to continually maintain the lot. To date, 62 people have been granted free side lots.
  • Last December, the City announced its partnership with MSD to demolish roughly 1,600 of the worst abandoned buildings. Demolitions begin this fall.
  • Two AmeriCorps teams also have been working with Mayor Slay's new Vacancy & Blight Taskforce, a public-private partnership made up of City employees, non-profits, residents and developers.

About LRA:

The City of St. Louis has the oldest land bank in the United States. The Land Reutilization Authority  was established in 1971 to take over properties that private landowners no longer wanted or had abandoned. When a property owner fails to pay taxes for five years, the City's Collector of Revenue may sue and foreclose. There are at least five public tax foreclosure sales per year. Any properties not sold at the foreclosure sale are transferred into the LRA inventory to be maintained, marketed and sold.

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