SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of nine grants totaling more than $108,000 to communities to fund inner city reforestation efforts. The funds will help local communities plant new trees in urban neighborhoods, on school grounds and on public property.
“The benefits to communities of planting trees are immeasurable,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Improving the quality of urban forests helps beautify neighborhoods, and can help attract and retain businesses and residents.”
The funding for the grants is provided through the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, administered in Illinois by the Department of Natural Resources.
The grants can be used within inner city areas for tree planting and removal of old, dangerous trees in neighborhoods; for tree planting on vacant land, avenues to historic sites, and accesses to greenways and waterways, as well as for forest health and invasive species control. Grant funds are provided on a cost-share basis with the local recipients providing 50 percent of the project costs.
“Trees are a valuable natural resource in our state and it is important they flourish in urban as well as rural environments,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. “No one in Illinois should ever have to leave his or her neighborhood to enjoy the natural beauty of trees.”
Local governments receiving these federal grants through a competitive application process include:
$ City of Chicago, $12,000, to conduct tree removal and reforestation in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.
$Village of Broadview, $8,000, for removal of dangerous trees and planting of new trees as part of Broadview’s neighborhood beautification project.
$ City of Alton, $5,630, for landscaping/replanting site work as part of the Hellrung Park reforestation project.
$ City of Decatur, $8,000, to plant trees within the area bounded by Eldorado St., 22nd St., Pershing Road, and Ill. Rt. 48 in Decatur.
$ Village of Hazel Crest, $3,092, to plant trees along 172nd and Kedzie Ave. in Hazel Crest.
$ Iron Oaks Environmental Learning Center, $36,000, to reforest eight school ground areas in the inner city areas of three communities (Country Club Hills, Homewood and Park Forest) and two park districts (Olympia Fields Park District and Homewood-Flossmoor Park District).
$ City of Peoria, $12,000, for removal of high-risk trees and replanting in neighborhoods and on vacant lands on Peoria’s south side.
$ City of Springfield, $12,000, for an inner city beautification project, including the planting of trees on primary roadways in Springfield.
$ City of Urbana, $12,000, for tree care for public safety in the city of Urbana.