RAP reLEAF: Replenish the tree canopy

RAP reLEAF:  Replenish the tree canopy
The historic district is known for its tree canopy, like this one on Riverside Avenue near St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Did you know the right tree planted in the right place can add value to property, provide much needed shade and comfort, promote walkability, filter pollution, absorb storm water runoff, and help to create a welcoming feeling in the neighborhood?

“Riverside and Avondale’s tree canopy, a distinct and much valued characteristic of our historic community, is aging, and many trees were downed or damaged during the storms. We know that new trees are needed to keep the canopy going strong into the next generation,” said Nancy Powell, chair of Riverside Avondale Preservation. “So we have created a new initiative for 2018, ‘RAP reLEAF.’” 

Working with the City’s Urban Forest Manager Richard Leon and City Arborist Kathleen McGovern, RAP is spearheading a plan to replenish the area, seeking volunteers to map areas of Riverside Avondale’s rights-of-way in need of trees. 

“In May, we are initiating a grass roots effort to get neighbors involved to identify the public areas on their blocks or near their homes where trees might be planted, and for which they are willing to help water and nourish the trees,” said Rick Pariani, a landscape architect and RAP Board and Tree Committee member.

“This will include parks and river easements, any public lands. We’ll then take that information, and the City’s Urban Forester will collaborate to identify the right tree for the right location, which is critical for the long term tree health,” Pariani said. “RAP’s vision is to plant 400-plus trees over the next year, and have our streets lined with distinctive and appropriate trees that add to the beauty and walkability of the neighborhood.”   

Following the location targeting effort, the specific plan will be developed, and RAP will work with the City and District 14 Councilman Jim Love to seek funding via the City’s Tree Mitigation Fund, which currently has $20 million being made accessible to communities for tree plantings around the city. Tree planting will be targeted for the next planting season, November through March.   

RAP reLEAF community meetings are planned for May 15, 6-7:30 p.m. and May 16, noon to 1:30 p.m. at Riverside Presbyterian Church, Bittinger Hall, 849 Park St.   

This is a great opportunity for all residents in the neighborhood, so plan to attend one of these sessions and get involved.

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