Mayor Greg Fischer today announced several initiatives that are helping Louisville increase its tree canopy, which will green the community, reduce the urban heat island effect, and reduce the community’s carbon footprint.
“By increasing the number of trees being planted, we are collectively creating a greener community, and we are raising awareness of our social responsibilities to making our community a more sustainable place for generations to come,” Fischer said.
Last year, Fischer and EcoTech announced a commitment from the private waste hauler to plant 1,000 trees in Louisville over 10 years. Today, EcoTech has increased that commitment to 1,500 trees over 10 years, with three of those trees being planted on 28th Street, on the property of Reynolds Consumer Products. Reynolds has agreed to partner with EcoTech in maintaining those trees for the first two years, a critical time in ensuring a tree’s healthy life.
“Ecotech is committed to our hometown, and we know that trees are a critical component of making Louisville stronger in the future,” said Robert Lee, Louisville native and president and owner of Ecotech. “We are thrilled to find a partner who is as passionate as we are in helping these trees through the critical first few years, and we hope to find others as we plant trees around the community.”
In coordination with EcoTech’s trees being planted at the Reynolds property, the city is planting seven trees in the right of way on 28th Street, adjacent to the Reynolds property, funded with $250,000 Fischer put in this year’s city budget for new trees. Reynolds has agreed to also maintain these trees the first two years after being planted. The city also planted 33 trees at the Urban Government Center earlier this month, and will be planting hundreds more this fall and spring on city-owned property or public right of way throughout Louisville using this dedicated funding.
“This kind of city-wide effort means we are continuously seeking partners to help maintain the trees, so that the trees we plant today will thrive and enhance the community for generations to come,” said Fischer.
Councilwoman Attica Scott also has worked with the Tree Advisory Commission in finding new locations for new trees in the Parkland neighborhood. “Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Fischer, the Metro Tree Advisory Commission, Center for Neighborhoods, Brightside, EcoTech and others, we truly are putting the ‘park’ back in Parkland,” said Scott. “We are addressing the urban heat island issue in Louisville with these trees and continuing the good work around sustainability in Parkland from the community garden to the Corridor Improvement Project.”
Fischer also introduced Erin Thompson, the city’s new Urban Forester, a position created with the city’s current budget. Thompson will be responsible for managing a city-wide tree canopy assessment, which will provide a baseline for the existing numbers of trees and where we need more, as well as developing a canopy management plan and working with urban forestry stakeholders in the community.
“We know our tree canopy lacks adequate coverage for a city our size, and in order to increase our tree canopy, we will rely on an assessment to tell us where exactly we should be planting future trees,” said Henry Heuser, co-chair of the Tree Advisory Commission. “We will be looking to the community’s corporate and individual stakeholders to match the city’s $50,000 toward a comprehensive assessment.”
Fischer encouraged private organizations and individuals to plant trees on their property, or offer to donate two years of maintenance for trees being planted.