The City of Flint has been named a “Tree City USA” for the 15th consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of the City’s effective urban forest management. To receive this honor, Flint and its partner the Genesee Conservation District, met the Tree City USA program’s four requirements of having either a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Flint joins more than 3,400 cities nationwide designated under the Tree City USA program, which is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forestry Service and the National Association of State Foresters. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits,” said Matt Harris, Arbor Day Foundation Chief Executive. “Everyone benefits when smart investments in urban forests are made.”
“The positive environmental impact of urban forestry is even more important to distressed cities like Flint,” said Megan Hunter, Director of Planning and Development. Hunter also expressed gratitude for the partnership between the City and the Genesee Conservation District. “We’ve been very fortunate that even while having very limited resources, our partnership has resulted in a complete tree inventory of our city streets. They have been extremely helpful in the maintenance and conservation of our urban forest landscape and deserve to share in this honor.”
Announcement of Flint’s Tree City USA designation comes on the heels of last week’s celebration of the beginning of Phase I construction on the Chevy Commons project. That project is cleaning the former “Chevy in the Hole” brownfield and transforming it into an urban green space with woodlands, grasslands and walking trails along the Flint River for the public to enjoy. Phase I construction to cover the first 16 acres of recently improved sanitary and storm sewer lines with a three to seven foot deep soil cap are underway and are expected to be finished this fall.
“Recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation of our efforts here in Flint to maintain a green, healthy community validates the work of our many dedicated community partners, volunteer groups and City staff,” said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. “Our goal is to continue to improve public spaces for future generations to enjoy through green development following the guidelines of our Master Plan.”
Cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, and increased property values and commercial activity are among the benefits cited by the Arbor Day Foundation as being enjoyed by Tree City USA communities. More information on the project can be found at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA. Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday of April.