$800,000 grant will help Lincoln turn abandoned lots into urban ag space

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – City representatives heard from the public for the first time on Thursday on a project to expand agriculture opportunities in urban areas.

The City of Lincoln received an $800,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up and redevelop potentially contaminated areas.

Those places must be used for agricultural purposes.

City officials heard from attendees of Thursday’s event on how the food system can be improved in their areas.  

City developers have multiple ideas.

“On those sites that are assessed and cleaned up, we are looking for opportunities to connect with the local food system,” said Frank Uhlatrik of the Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Department. “Whether it’s growing, whether it’s markets, interpretive centers for training and education for future farmers.” 

The project focuses on the urban area around the Haymarket, but also considers other parts of Lincoln.

Some examples of places that could be redeveloped are abandoned railyards, former supermarkets, abandoned school buildings and abandoned lots. 

Besides improving food access, the project aims to create jobs, beautify areas and provide education and volunteering opportunities. 

The city is expected to have another meeting at the beginning of next year after gathering and analyzing the public’s input.

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