State Kicks in $2M to Transform South Side Brownfield Into Hub for Green Innovation

A $2 million investment from the state pushed funding for an urban farming campus over the top, paving the way for Friday's groundbreaking. (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity / Twitter)< span class= "image-full standalone-image"style ="width:1280 px; "> A$2 million financial investment from the state pressed financing for a city farming campus over the top, paving the way for Friday’s groundbreaking. (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity/ Twitter )After years of disinvestment, recent months have seen the city, state and personal foundations all pump multimillion dollar contributions into advancements slated for the Auburn Gresham community.Thanks to our sponsors: The current infusion came Friday, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker announcing a$2 million financial investment from the state’s Rebuild Illinois program to fill the last financing gap for the Green Age Urban Farming Campus, a job that just one day prior was stated part of the

winning group in the inaugural $10 million Chicago Prize competition.” This seems like the proverbial icing on the cake,”said Carlos Nelson, executive of the Greater Auburn Gresham Advancement Corporation (GAGDC).

The $32 million school will transform a vacant brownfield at 650 W. 83rd St. into a hub for green development and jobs. The nine-acre website will include a 13,000-square-foot greenhouse, enabling year-round food production; provide education and training for farmers and gardeners; function as an incubator for green business owners; and carry out innovative innovation, in the type of an anaerobic digester that will transform food scraps into energy and compost.

“This is a job that incorporates sustainable energy, food production, schedule of healthy foods, and climate-smart job training. It’s precisely the kind of 21st century vision that deserves our financial investment,” stated Pritzker.

@GovPritzker & & DCEO reveal state assistance for @GreenEraChicago Urban Farm Campus. The $32M task made w/ $2M in Rebuild Illinois capital funds, stimulating sustainable development, fresh food, renewable energy, & & tasks. #Rebuildillinois @ILEPA @mnegron01

— Illinois Dept. of Commerce & & Economic Opportunity (@IllinoisDCEO) August 7, 2020

The as soon as growing Auburn Gresham was annihilated by white flight and the subsequent degeneration of its formerly dynamic enterprise zone. The Green Age campus will now put the community on the forefront of the green economy, Pritzker said.

He applauded Erika Allen, co-founder of Green Age and co-CEO of Urban Growers Collective, for her passion and yearslong dedication to the task.

A leader in Chicago’s metropolitan farming neighborhood, Allen has been the driving force behind the school proposal, and said that the previous week, in which long-gestating plans have actually finally born fruit, represents the dawn of a brand-new future for the South Side.

“I believe for a lot of us who come the terrific migration and all of the things that we have actually been battling with as a city, to have an area during this most dark time bring light into the city, and to really start to look past these challenges to what can come, and likewise remedy and pertain to terms with the legacy of being oppressed, and what that has actually suggested financially– this is what this job represents, that shift,” stated Allen.

Erika Allen, a leader in Chicago's urban agriculture movement, has been the driving force behind Auburn Gresham's Green Era campus. (WTTW News) Erika Allen, a leader in Chicago’s metropolitan agriculture motion, has actually been the driving force behind Auburn Gresham’s Green Era school.(WTTW News) Building and construction can now begin on the website, with organizers going for a spring 2022 completion. The primary step is to begin ecological remediation of the land, formerly home to International Harvester and most just recently utilized as an impound lot by the Chicago Authorities Department.

The Illinois EPA offered a $1 million loan from its Brownfield Redevelopment Loan Fund, including $200,000 in principal forgiveness, to assist with the website’s cleanup. Green Period likewise received $600,000 in grants from the U.S. EPA. Deal with the Green Age campus is kicking off in tandem with construction of a new Metra station near 79th and Halsted, and renovation of a vacant building set to become a healthy lifestyle center.

“Simply think, in fiscal year 2021, the Auburn Gresham skies will be lit up with cranes and earth movers as three large capital tasks, all within a three-and-a-half block radius, will be under building,” said Nelson. “The future is intense for Auburn Gresham. We are here proclaiming that, yes, there is hope being instilled and there are resources pertaining to jobs that represent real sustainable development.”

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