As the frozen ground of another harsh Midwest winter begins to thaw, City of West Chicago Public Works staff gears up with plans for spring parkway tree planting, this year with the help of a CN EcoConnexions – From the Ground Up matching grant of $25,000.
The CN EcoConnexions From the Ground Up program, in collaboration with America in Bloom (AiB), supports collaborative community greening projects that enhance landscapes, improve quality of life in communities, and improve environmental stewardship in communities neighboring CN rail lines. According to AiB Executive Director Laura Kunkle, West Chicago was awarded this grant based on community impact and engagement, sustainability, technical assurances, and alignment with the program’s objectives.
“The City of West Chicago is very intentional about maintaining a diversified tree stock, replacing damaged or diseased trees, and identifying areas where the addition of a new tree is appropriate and makes landscape sense,” said Robert Flatter, City of West Chicago Public Works Director. “We estimate at least 160 parkway trees will be planted this year. By doing so, we keep our tree stock healthy and, if done regularly, reduces the high cost of replacing a large number in one calendar year”. Among the species to be planted this spring are English Oak, Red Oak, Pin Oak, Hackberry, Tulip, Skyline Honey Locust, Frontier Elm, Stately Manor Kentucky Coffee, Shantung Maple, and Ivory Silk Lilac.
Bill Hahn, Arborist and Horticulturist for the City of Akron, Ohio and active member of the AiB organization serving on the Contest Committee, recently wrote about the importance of providing space for nature throughout neighborhoods or cities. “Research at the University of Washington and the University of Illinois reveals that incorporating green concepts into cities reduces crime, increases retail sales, boosts real estate values, facilitates child learning and retention levels, promotes a feeling of safety and well-being, fosters economic development and improves quality of life for residents,” he wrote in his blog post, The Why of Urban Forestry.
More information celebrating the 2019 Parkway Tree Planting Program and the CN EcoConnextions – From the Ground Up grant will be available at West Chicago’s upcoming Blooming Fest, on Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. With a strong AiB committee in West Chicago consisting of a wide cross-section of community stakeholders, there is no doubt, that efforts in the greening of the City will be solidly rooted for future generations.