Wheat Ridge Secures Grant to Plant 1,000 Trees

Wheat Ridge Secures Grant to Plant 1,000 Trees

The city of Wheat Ridge has recently been awarded a substantial grant of $669,073 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This grant is part of the $1 billion Urban and Community Forestry program, which supports 400 communities across the country. Wheat Ridge stood out due to its urgent need for developing a healthier urban canopy.

The funding stems from the 2021 Executive Order 13990, titled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” The primary focus of this specific grant is to address low canopy issues within communities. With this grant, Wheat Ridge plans to plant approximately 1,000 new trees in public areas throughout the city between 2024 and 2028.

A Thousand Trees for a Greener Future

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Planting 1,000 trees may seem like a massive undertaking, but Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation Grant and Special Project Administrator, Brandon Altenburg, has outlined the distribution of trees and grant funds. Out of the 1,000 trees, roughly 500 will be allocated to specific projects, including the Wadsworth project, the 38th Street project, the Ward Station project, and a multi-use trail connection between 36th and 32nd.

Additionally, 40 trees will be planted in Crown Hill Park in collaboration with the Wheat Ridge Open Spaces division of Parks and Recreation. Foothills Regional Housing apartment locations are set to receive another 32 trees. The remaining 500 trees will be distributed across Wheat Ridge’s right of ways, parks, and the Greenbelt area between Young Street and Harlan Street. Some trees will also be planted along the eastern side of the city, adjacent to I-70.

The ultimate goal of this ambitious project is to increase tree cover throughout Wheat Ridge during the five-year grant period.

Wheat Ridge Secures Grant to Plant 1,000 Trees

Comprehensive Care and Management

The Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation grant not only provides funds for tree planting but also allocates resources for the proper management of the trees. This includes the hiring of a full-time natural resources specialist, as well as two seasonal forestry staff members who will work 16 weeks a year throughout the grant period. Additionally, the project has secured 10 weeks of support from the Mile High Youth Corps.

Other crucial allocations include supplies to maintain the trees for three years and software to monitor tree health effectively.

According to Altenburg, this grant will result in a 12.5% increase in the Wheat Ridge urban canopy. The benefits of this expanded green cover will include improved air quality, decreased temperatures, and increased shade.

To match the grant, the city of Wheat Ridge will be investing a dollar for every dollar received. Many of the necessary funds are already factored into existing project budgets, such as the Wadsworth project.

Cultivating a Greener Future

Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation is eager to get the ball rolling on this exciting initiative. Plans are set to begin in March with the ordering of supplies, the hiring of new employees, and the implementation of the new monitoring software. The actual tree planting is expected to commence in May or June.

For more information on the Urban and Community Forestry Grant, you can visit the Tips Tree Planting website or check out the USDA webpage dedicated to grants and awards for 2023. The future of Wheat Ridge is looking greener than ever!

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