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More Green Space in Newport is Target of New Grant

A grant will fund an effort to create more green space in Newport.

Northern Kentucky University awarded $40,000 to the Ecological Stewardship Institute (ESI) for the work which is to include strategic depaving, a transdisciplinary, community-engaged research project being led by Dr. Kirsten Schwarz, associate professor of environmental science. NKU faculty and students will work with stakeholders and community members in Newport to co-design and co-produce small-scale greening interventions.

“The project was developed in response to community survey results that identified water quality and access to green space as high priority concerns, both of which are addressed through the proposed greening interventions,” said Dr. Schwarz. “The project is an opportunity for residents to shape their environment through the design and creation of green spaces in their neighborhood. We’re thrilled to be working in Newport’s west side and look forward to engaging with residents to help support their vision of a greener Newport.”

Strategic depaving also was awarded the Water Research Consortium Challenge Grant and will receive $15,000 from Confluence, a water technology cluster looking to establish the region as a global leader in sustainable, environmental technology innovation. The project was selected because the reviewers thought it was positioned to make a positive change in the neighborhood. NKU’s Provost was also impressed with the direct impact of this project.

“This provides a unique opportunity to advance environmental solutions through collaborative, cross-disciplinary partnerships while giving students hands-on learning,” said Provost Sue Ott Rowlands. “The strategic depaving project stands out because it will be developed and implemented with the community, truly making it a natural fit for Newport.”

The NKU emerging research grant is for three years, and the project is expected to begin in the spring of 2018. The strategic depaving team members include NKU faculty from biology, communications, history, visual arts and nursing. The Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement and CINSAM are also involved in the project. Community partners include the City of Newport and Neighborhood Foundations.

-Staff report