Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Executive Director PBRM Patrick Sullivan, City Forester Alex Sherman and Regreen President David Bloniarz, planted a Bald Cypress tree this morning at Buckingham Triangle to kick off the Greening the Gateway Program (GGCP) in Springfield.
The City of Springfield was recently awarded $1.5 million to plant over 2,400 new trees in the yards of residents living in the Old Hill, McKnight and parts of Upper Hill neighborhoods. These free trees are made possible by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs through funding from the Department of Energy Resources. Oversight is provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Urban & Community Forestry Program.
The GGCP aims to increase tree canopy cover in neighborhoods with older housing stock, higher wind speeds, and larger renter populations. The program plants trees 6 feet tall with a goal of covering 5% of the target neighborhoods in new tree canopy cover. The program will plant the trees for free and the resident will incur no costs.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said, “This program shows what can be achieved with our partners from the Massachusetts’ Governor’s office and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). Because of their commitment to Springfield, the City will be a more beautiful and attractive place to live. This program beautifies the homes and local businesses in McKnight, Old Hill, and Upper Hill while naturally shading their homes.”
Executive Director of PBRM, Patrick Sullivan said, “A private property tree lives a healthier and longer life because they are protected from the risks of the road and have more space to grow. The new trees will eventually shade their homes reducing cooling costs and also slow rainwater runoff. Families who participate in this program can watch the tree grow over the years and take pride in it.”
“Community Forestry initiatives like the Greening the Gateway Cities Springfield program help to add to the overall Urban Tree Canopy here in the City,” said Springfield City Forester Alex Sherman. “I would like to be able to replace the trees at a two to one ratio – for every diseased or dying tree we take down, we put another two up – but that’s not always the case. This program helps us take a step forward to that goal.”
“The Greening the Gateway Cities Program serves as a great example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s dedication to partnering with local communities, nonprofit organizations, private citizens, and the other key stakeholders in an effort to achieve a common goal,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Trees provide tremendous benefits to our communities, and by expanding the program into the City of Springfield, local residents will enjoy cleaner air, lower energy costs, and a reduction in noise pollution, while also beautifying neighborhoods.
Regreen President Dave Bloniarz added, “The trees planted on private property through this program serve to grow the connection between the homeowner and the nature that Springfield has to offer. Regreen is proud to be partnering with the city of Springfield in this initiative.”
Greening the Gateway Cities – Springfield, is a program operated by the City of Springfield’s Parks, Buildings & Recreation Management Department. To learn more about the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, or to register for a free tree, please visit our website or call the 311 Call Center by dialing 3-1-1.