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City of Columbus Announces Plans to Plant 300,000 New Trees by 2020

Walker Evans Walker Evans City of Columbus Announces Plans to Plant 300,000 New Trees by 2020A view of the urban street tree canopy in Victorian Village (right) and the lack of street trees in Weinland Park (left) — Photos by Walker Evans.
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When it comes to urban revitalization, there are many different ways to go about building (or rebuilding) a community. Nearly every idea comes with its share of proponents and detractors, with some ideas being more controversial than others. But there’s one form of community enhancement that few people would argue is problematic for a neighborhood: planting trees.

Trees in urban neighborhoods provide a plethora of benefits, ranging from beautification to public health improvement to land value increases. An article from NextCity.org outlines how they can contribute to lower crime rates, while an article on TreeHugger.com says that people who live on tree-lined streets live longer lives and make more money on average.

To that end, Columbus city and civic leaders are expected to gather tomorrow afternoon to announce “Branch Out Columbus” — a new program that will oversee the goal of planting 300,000 new trees throughout the city by the year 2020.

While over 20 local nonprofits will assist with the new program, it’s being kicked off tomorrow in Weinland Park to also announce a pilot project known as the Weinland Urban Tree Nursery, where neighbors can pick up trees, as well as information packets on caring for them. Visitors can also sign up there for additional tree planting events.

“Weinland Park is one of the areas that will benefit the most from this program, because the area currently only has 12 percent tree cover, while the city average is 22 percent,” explained Brandyn McElroy, President of the Weinland Park Civic Association. “This is a call to action, and it’s an honor for us as a community to be the jumping off point for reaching the goal in 2020.”

The City of Columbus applied for a grant through national nonprofit American Forests, which would fund 4,200 tree plantings — enough for one tree for every household in Weinland Park.

trees

Some of the other neighborhoods with lower amounts of urban street tree cover include Downtown (8%), South Campus (13%), the Polaris area (5%) and the Tuttle area (5%). Some of the neighborhoods with higher tree cover include Clintonville (41%), Indian Springs (47%) and the Iuka Ravine (59%).

For ongoing discussion on urban street trees in Columbus, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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