St. Louis, Mo. - Vacant parcels of land in St. Louis are being replaced with tree farms. Planting started Wednesday in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood and community leaders are hopeful the trees' growth could also mean economic growth for the city.
Crews from Fresh Coast Capital and Jeffrey Boyd, ward 22 alderman, planted 1,500 hybrid poplars on 42 parcels of city-owned property.
"One thing about tree planting is it's a sign of life," Boyd said. "This is kind of sentimental for me because a year ago today, my nephew was shot and killed in this neighborhood."
The land had been empty and cutting the grass was costing the city thousands of dollars a year.
"They're not on the tax rolls," said Maggie Crane, director of communications. "They're not generating any kind of income."
Now, the city is leasing the land to Fresh Coast Capital for just $1. Once the trees are tall, the company will sell the wood.
"To be able to move 42 of these parcels off the books and into productive reuse of land is really right in line with the mayor's sustainability agenda," Crane said.
As trees are planted, jobs are added, too.
"It's going to create a few jobs, it's not going to create a whole lot of jobs, but any job that you can add to the neighborhood is a good thing," Boyd said.
One job is going to Dvion Harris.
"Just maintain them and make sure they grow nice," Harris said. "I love it. See, I'm buying a house across the street and I volunteered to help the area look nice for my two sons."