RAP ReLEAF project underway

Replenishing the tree canopy in Riverside, Avondale and other neighborhoods in District 14 is underway, thanks to a coordinated effort by Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) and 25 volunteers.

From mid-May through early July, the volunteers and 200 survey respondents identified over 500 potential locations where residents want new trees in residential public right of way areas, parks and medians in the historic district, according to Nancy Powell, RAP board chair.

In July, the RAP tree committee submitted the collected data to Kathleen McGovern, Jacksonville’s arborist, and Richard Leon, urban forester, then met to review the project. They are currently planning site visits to each location to confirm the appropriate tree can be planted in the designated location.

Once McGovern and Leon verify the locations, targeted for completion by the end of September, they will prepare a total cost estimate. After funding is approved through City Council, tree planting is targeted to begin in early December and run through the winter months. 

“Some homeowners requested specific species, and the plan is to make every effort to honor those requests, however if the location cannot accommodate that species, another species will be substituted, or the homeowner can opt not to have a tree planted,” said Powell. 

RAP’s volunteers and tree committee members will convene to determine how to best communicate to homeowners regarding such requests, once the site visit analysis has occurred, most likely in the October-November timeframe.

There will also be coordination with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department for trees identified for the parks, so that effort may have a separate timeline, yet to be determined.

Additional individual tree requests, including assessment of diseased or damaged trees in the right of way, can be made by contacting 630city.coj.net.

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