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Lots of Clover: initiative to reshape Buffalo's empty lots

Posted at 4:38 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 17:42:24-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — What do you do when you have empty lots filled with overgrown grass, weed and trash?

You bring "Lots of Clover."

As part of a new pilot program to make more habitat-friendly spaces in the city, clover seeds will be planted in Buffalo's empty lots.

"The clover will ultimately take over the lot, it will produce flowers for pollinators so it's great for the environment. It will also stay low so it will require less maintenance by the city," said Anne McCooey, Project Manager at the Black Rock Riverside Alliance.

She reached out to the Buffalo City Council with the idea, and lawmakers approved the demonstration project.

They'll be working on three empty city-owned lots at the corner of Tonawanda and Saratoga Street.

McCooey said the houses that used to be here were demolished a few years ago.

"I run the community garden over on Esser and often we do cleanups, specifically up and down Tonawanda Street because it gets pretty bad with the litter. And on occasion when we come down here, the grass is a couple feet tall," said Alyssa Hamilton, who runs the Esser and Henrietta Community Garden.

The BRRAlliance is working with the Cornell Cooperative Extension to make sure they get the right type of clover for the lots, and make sure they don't grow too high.

"Also save the city money by cutting down on how often they have to mow. They may have to come through here and mow maybe once or twice a year as opposed to every four weeks or so," said McCooey.

The lots are in Riverside, which is part of Council Member Joseph Golombek's district.

"We only have I think maybe about 10, 15 city owned lots in my council district. Where you go into other neighborhoods and there's literally hundreds of properties that were left to the city," he said.

Golombeck said they'll plant the clover seeds next month.