WARWICK, RI — Mayor Joseph J. Solomon says the city will plant about 48 new trees throughout the City, at no cost to taxpayers, using $15,000 from the City’s Tree Trust.
Funding for the program comes from impact fees and “fee in lieu of” from commercial and residential projects in the City.
The City will work with Rhode Island Tree Council, a non-profit organization that will administer the program through an application process. The organization will use $10,000 from the Tree Trust to pay for “set-back” plantings on private properties, determined through homeowner applications. Set-back planting is the practice of planting public trees for the benefit of a community on public rights of way and private properties. The overarching goal is to plant trees in larger soil volumes where they have a better conditions under which to survive and thrive.
The Tree Council, which has successfully run similar programs throughout Rhode Island, will screen applications, select appropriate trees, inspect planting sites and contract with a private vendor to plant the trees. They will work in cooperation with City staff, which will coordinate the mapping of these trees in Warwick’s GIS for public access and viewing. Approximately 30 trees are expected to be planted through this portion of the funding.
The remaining $5,000 will be set aside, Solomon said, for street trees in Conimicut Village. Dead or missing trees in existing “tree pits” will be replaced. Dead or dying trees will be removed by the Department of Public Works, which will also grind stumps, prepare tree pits for replanting and cover pits that are deemed overcrowded or unusable after evaluation by the City’s registered landscape architect. The Tree Council will plant trees in the prepared pits and provide limited maintenance. Between 15 to 18 trees are expected to be planted with this funding.
Homeowners who choose to take part in the program will be responsible for the full care of the tree once it is planted, relieving the City of the cost burden for the upkeep and any related problems caused by root-related sidewalk repairs, Solomon said.
“Trees are beneficial for the environment, resulting in better air quality and reductions in stormwater runoff and heat effects. I encourage residents to consider taking part in this program, and look forward also to seeing the improvements that this funding will provide for in Conimicut Village,” Solomon said.
The City will post information on how to apply to participate in the program on the City website, Solomon said.