Hammond celebrates $25K grant to plant 265 new trees
HAMMOND---On June 2, the City of Hammond will host a special media event celebrating the planting of 265 trees along Morrison Boulevard and in Mooney Park and thanking grantors CN and America in Bloom for their $25,000 contribution to the project. The City will also acknowledge the Hammond Tree Board's generosity in providing matching funds.
In all, the City planted 106 Crepe Myrtles, 72 Savannah Hollies, 21 Red Maples, 18 Bald Cypresses, 18 Southern Magnolias, 14 Southern Live Oaks, 8 Nuttall Oaks, 7 Swamp Chestnut Oaks, and 1 Willow Oak with the assistance of volunteers and participating property owners.
"We are very grateful to CN, America in Bloom, and the Hammond Tree Board for choosing to partner with us on this project," says Mayor Pete Panepinto. "With their support, we were able to take an idea that originated years ago and, finally, see it become a reality."
The Mayor is quick to point out that the trees aren't just for aesthetics: "As they grow, we hope they will help to improve air quality, manage stormwater runoff, reduce energy costs, and increase property values in our city."
After learning in late 2014 that it would receive a CN EcoConnexions From the Ground Up grant, the City worked closely with the Hammond Tree Board and a local landscape architect to plan groupings of trees that would maximize these benefits. "Since most of the right of way along Morrison is DOTD or Entergy right of way, the next step was to send out letters to property owners and begin visiting businesses along Morrison to secure their participation," explains City Grants Manager Charles Borchers IV. "The response was overwhelmingly positive, as I think will only become more evident as the trees grow." Borchers adds that he can't thank the City Streets Department enough for "doing all of the heavy lifting—literally—from picking up the trees, which all came from local nurseries, to digging the holes for them, to planting them."
Participating property owners will help the City maintain the trees over the coming summer months—watering them as necessary.
The media event is scheduled for 1 p.m. outside the Tangipahoa Parish School System's building at 795 South Morrison Boulevard, where 20 Crepe Myrtles were planted.
For more details on the grant program, visit www.americainbloom.org/CN.