TD Bank Group (TD) and the Arbor Day Foundation have awarded the City of Greenville a $20,000 TD Green Space Grant. Greenville was among only 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada to receive grants, which are awarded annually for tree planting, maintenance costs and educational activities. The City will use its grant to plant 50 native trees in the Greater Sullivan and Nicholtown neighborhoods. In addition to the tree plantings, the City will also work with the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood Association and the Nicholtown Neighborhood Association to host tree giveaways and educational events. The educational events will include tree planting demonstrations led by the City’s arborist, community clean-up activities and informational workshops about the importance of trees and the City’s efforts to protect and refurbish Greenville’s tree canopy.
The City identified Greater Sullivan and Nicholtown as prime project areas based on three factors. First, an examination of the results from a recent U.S. Forest Service flyover, which revealed that both neighborhoods are suffering from tree canopy loss. Over the past 10 years, more than 20% of Greater Sullivan’s and nearly 7% of Nicholtown’s tree cover disappeared. Second, both neighborhoods were recently the focus of an extensive street tree inventory. Completed in September 2020, this GIS-based inventory provides a shovel-ready plan that will thoughtfully inform the project’s tree planting efforts. Finally, the City has community centers in each neighborhood, which will serve as headquarters for community engagement activities related to the project.
Reversing tree canopy loss not only strongly aligns with City Council’s stated priorities but also with citizens’ priorities. Community input received during the recent planning process for GVL2040, the comprehensive plan that will shape Greenville’s growth and evolution over the next two decades, prioritized open space and the environment as a top issue.
“The recent U.S. Forest Service flyover showed asphalt and rooftops cover most of the city,” said Jeff Waters, the City’s urban designer. “As we strive to address the issue citywide through our commitment to planting 1,000 trees annually on public property and initiatives like Rooted in Greenville, an ongoing public awareness campaign to encourage residents to plant trees on private property, this grant award will help reverse the problem at a neighborhood level.”