Blog Post By Jona Elwell

#Vacant2VibrantDC

Last December we got a call from the staff at D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). They had several vacant parcels of land they were going to auction off for affordable housing, with the remainder being converted to green space. Would Casey Trees consider holding the greenspaces under a Conservation Easement – of course, we agreed!

But wait – what is a Conservation Easement? Simply stated, a Conservation Easement is a restriction placed on a piece of land ensuring that it stays undeveloped in perpetuity, protecting trees and other vegetation (which aligns closely with our mission).

This effort, known as “Vacant to Vibrant,” is the city’s way of transforming its surplus properties to serve a higher use. Providing Conservation Easement protections on the open space lots is a natural fit, as described in Action Four of the program’s goals: Expanding Green Space.

We kicked our partnership off this past June in the Riggs Park neighborhood. Our Executive Director Mark Buscaino joined Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner, DHCD Director Polly Donaldson, and DHCD Chief of Staff Latrena Owens for a ceremonial ribbon cutting and signage placement on the newly minted green space – a half-acre parcel, covered by trees, and home to countless species of wildlife.

(Left to right) Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner, DHCD Director Polly Donaldson, DHCD Chief of Staff Latrena Owens, and our own Mark Buscaino pre-ribbon cutting at the site of a conservation easement for Vacant to Vibrant.

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