Venice Area Beautification, Inc. (VABI) has received a $100,000 matching grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation for Phase 2, Segment 2 of its Venice Urban Forest project. VABI will receive the funds in $25,000 installments each time it raises an equal amount from other sources in the community. This is the third Gulf Coast grant for VABI’s Urban Forest, following two successful $100,000 matching grants awarded over the last two years to support the first and part of the second phase of the project. With this third matching grant, VABI already has raised $25,000 from other community sources to earn the first installment. The new grant funds will be used to continue expansion of the forest southward, including removing invasive vegetation such as pepper trees, planting scrub oaks to expand scrub jay habitat, planting strangler figs for supporting other bird populations, and removing large amounts of abandoned concrete pipe, steel, and debris from the site.
VABI’s Urban Forest project will create a nearly two-mile greenway along the Intracoastal Waterway through the heart of Venice by reforesting a former railway corridor. The Urban Forest will stretch from the Venice Train Depot to Center Road/Highway 41, running between the Venetian Waterway Park to the west and the Seaboard industrial area to the east.