Chief of Staff Denise Jordan, Executive Director PBRM Patrick Sullivan, City Forester Alex Sherman, Regreen President David Bloniarz, and GGCP Program Administrator Joe Pellegrino planted a Tulip Tree to kick off the Greening the Gateway Program in Springfield in the Old Hill/Upper Hill neighborhood.
The city has hosted two prior tree-planting ceremonies to bring awareness to the residents of these neighborhoods that free trees are available to be planted within their yards. The Forestry Division will be meeting with the neighborhoods councils throughout the year to promote the program.
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 MA 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 in cooperation with the City’s Department of Parks Buildings and Recreation - Forestry Division.
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.
The third in a series of kick-off event, to be held at Donna Blake Park on Pendleton Avenue, Springfield, will include the planting of a new shade tree in the park. The public is invited to attend the event and learn about how trees make a difference in the community, and how they can get a free tree planted on their property.
To learn more about the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, or to register for a free tree, please visit us at https://www.springfield-ma.gov/park/index.php?id=ggcp.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said, “Springfield is proud to have been chosen to participate in this vital initiative set forth by the Baker Administration. This collaborative effort of State and City government working with the homeowners provides us the opportunity to make Springfield, a better, more attractive place to live. We are known as the City of Homes, but we can go by a new name now, the City of Trees. We need the assistance of the City residents in McKnight, Old Hill, and Upper Hill to sign up to have trees planted in their yards. By everyone working together we can ensure a combined effort in achieving our goals.”
Executive Director of PBRM, Patrick Sullivan said, “We are very proud to be planting a tree here at Donna Blake Park. Donna, while serving as a Springfield Park Commissioner, was an advocate for the Forestry Division and planting a tree here today reminds us of the importance of trees being planted in our community. There are numerous environmental benefits that come with planting a tree. The planting goal of the program, 2,400 trees, in a 800 acre area, has been backed by science to make a large impact on urban heat island effect, cleaner air in the city, and reduced home energy use. They also provide social benefits for the residents of the City. Everyone wins when a new tree is planted.”
“I’ve talked to hundreds of residents throughout my career with the Forestry Department who reminisce on the Elm trees that used to line both sides of the streets, creating an overarching canopy over the streets,” said the Springfield City Forester Alex Sherman. “When Dutch elm disease killed most of the American Elms in Springfield, we needed to recreate the large tree canopies that they provided. We are one step closer with every tree we plant through the Greening the Gateway Cities Springfield program.”