Ground Work


Acres Conserved

Counties Served



Farmland Acres Conserved

Parks & Preserves Created

Acres of Parks & Preserves Created

Trees Planted & Given Away

Problems Caused by Vacant Land

Out of the nearly 30,000 vacant parcels distributed across the city, more than 15,500 are owned by and maintained by the City of Cleveland. Under the current maintenance capacity and routines, this landscape can become overgrown and lead to negative uses such as dumping and crime.

Working to Solve Those Problems

Ground Work aims to shift the trajectory of vacant land to ensure it provides both social and ecological benefits to the surrounding community. The Land Conservancy engages residents, community partners and city officials to provide the needed direction, counsel and feedback to ensure that these projects will be valued assets to the neighborhood. Since its inception in 2020, Ground Work has directly engaged over 60 residents in door-to-door surveys and stabilized over fifty parcels in Mount Pleasant, Buckeye-Shaker and Buckeye-Woodhill.

Our Work

The Results So Far

Through our collective efforts with partners at the City of Cleveland, community development corporations, neighborhood block clubs, and nonprofit and private donors, the Land Conservancy repurposed a former construction dump site, revitalized a neglected park space, rediscovered a walkable pathway along a busy street and cleaned up vacant lots around an entire block, all while planting more than 170 new trees.

How We Do it

The strategies of Ground Work are driven by the Land Conservancy’s rigorous research and first-hand experiences with the challenges of vacant land. Ground Work outcomes advance multiple goals, objectives and actions identified by documents such as the 2011 Re-Imagining Cleveland: Ideas to Action Resource Book, the 2018 Cleveland Climate Action Plan and the Cleveland Tree Plan.

More Work to Do

As of winter 2021, eight Ground Work projects have been completed, with four more sites queued for 2022. The existing sites comprise 58 owned parcels that receive tree care through Ground Work and Reforest Our City.

The intended outcomes of Ground Work are to:

  • Engage residents in discussions about vacant land management in their neighborhoods
  • Remove hazardous vegetation such as dead trees or tree branches, vines and shrubs
  • Remove dumped debris and litter and install preventative elements such as trees and security cameras on select parcels
  • Amend soil with compost sourced from local food waste in the months prior to tree planting
  • Establish and maintain new trees
  • Maintain pathways and add seating elements on select parcels, to encourage community use of the space