Inner-City Vineyard Changing Cleveland Landscape

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CLEVELAND --  You might say the landscape of Cleveland is changing one vacant lot at a time... once abandoned land is now bountiful with the fruit of the vine. 

Some see Cleveland's Hough neighborhood as a struggling inner-city community.  Not Mansfield Frazier.  He sees his neighborhood as a place of change and growth -- one vine at a time.

A 3/4 acre lot at East 66th and Hough stood vacant for years.  Frazier has transformed it into The Vineyards of Chateau Hough. 

"I figure if we can use the land to grow crops, create jobs --  you get a triple net bottom line. You've re-used vacant land, created money and created food," Frazier said. 

There are nearly 300 thriving vines.  Frazier said they are hearty plants that "winter-well" and are producing two types of wine-making grapes.  

The Vineyards of Chateau Hough was made possible by a Re-Imagining Cleveland grant  from the City of Cleveland and Neighborhood Progress.  

Lilah Zautner, sustainability manager with Neighborhood Progress, said Chateau Hough has become a gathering place.

"It is a place where you can obviously see life.  And, this is only three years old and this looked like this within a year of being done. It was a huge transformation," Zaunter said. 

Clevelander Danielle Peck can easily see the value of transforming empty lots.

"I think it's a good idea that they are bringing gardens and things into the neighborhoods because it adds vitality.  It adds life.  Gives people a reason to want to make the entire neighborhood grow," Peck added.  

Frazier said the vines will be fully grown in a few years and believes they will yield enough grapes to produce 7,000 bottles of wine. "At that point, the next goal is to open a winery," Frazier added. 

This year, there are 66 new Re-Imagining Cleveland projects turning vacant lots into vineyards, gardens and parks. 

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