Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Executive Director PBRM Patrick Sullivan, Springfield City Forester Alex Sherman, GGCP Program Administrator Joe Pellegrino, and ReGreen Springfield President David Bloniarz planted the first Greening the Gateway Cities Program tree for a City resident today at the home of Brandi Gamble. A Littleleaf Linden tree was planted in her backyard.
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.
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. Mature trees will benefit homes up to 1500 feet away. The program will plant the trees for free and the resident will incur no costs.
“This program goes to show the great programs implemented under the Baker-Polito Administration. With the money from the State, we are able to give our residents FREE trees for their homes,” said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “This opportunity is specific to a handful of cities in Massachusetts and we have to use it while we have it in Springfield. It’s not only going to benefit your home but your neighbor’s home, and your entire community.”
Executive Director of PBRM, Patrick Sullivan said, “For several years now, I’ve been promoting setback and private tree plantings where the trees will be safe from harm including vandalism and cars. We have seen that people take more ownership over the trees in their yards and we see trees growing in private yards over the course of several home owners. They add property value and can be a center piece to a home’s yard.”
“We are looking to provide residents with an unmatched experience when we come to their home and work with them to site a tree,” said Joe Pellegrino, Program Administrator of GGCP Springfield. “We have over 90 tree species to pick from and we take the time to work with the home owner to make sure they are getting the right tree for the right place. Don’t hesitate to call 3-1-1 and get the process started.”
President of ReGreen Springfield, David Bloniarz said, “I appreciate that we can partner on programs like this with the City in order to regreen these neighborhoods. We’ve come so far from the 2011 tornado and we still have a lot of planting to do to make up for the trees that we lost during that period.”