In an effort to help communities build resilience and mitigate the harms of the climate crisis, the Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced $1.3 million in grants to support tree plantings in Gateway Cities across Massachusetts. Eight municipalities and two non-profit organizations will receive awards totaling $988,300 through the Greening the Gateway Cities (GGCP) Implementation Grant Program, and an additional 15 projects are receiving awards totaling $313,571 through the GGCP’s Partnership Grant Program.
“Recently, I got my hands dirty in Malden planting trees. I saw firsthand the tremendous benefits the Greening the Gateway Cities Program has on communities,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our administration is proud to announce we’re investing in our future by creating more tree canopy in Gateway Cities across Massachusetts to ensure we are providing healthy and livable communities for generations to come.”
“As a former mayor, I know how important the partnerships between municipalities and key stakeholders are in this program, not only by planting trees but also maintaining them,” added Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “By employing residents in each community, we’re fostering good stewards and providing them skills applicable to future employment in green industries.”
The GGCP is a partnership between the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Urban & Community Forestry Program, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), along with Gateway Cities and local grassroots organizations. These tree planting efforts help decrease energy use, reduce flooding from storm water runoff, and improve the quality of life in these cities.
“Our Gateway Cities are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “With summers getting increasingly hotter, it’s critical that Massachusetts curbs the urban heat island effect. Planting more trees provides a cooling effect in neighborhoods, and is especially important in environmental justice communities where there’s less tree canopy, older housing stock, higher wind speeds, and larger rental populations.”
“Planting more trees in our Gateway Cities helps shield our environmental justice communities from the extreme heat driven by the climate crisis,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “Last year the Greening the Gateway Cities Program reached a milestone of 35,000 trees planted across the Commonwealth and we are excited to work with our partners create more urban tree canopies and green spaces in our communities that need them the most.”
“The Greening the Gateway Cities initiative has brought new trees to urban areas across Massachusetts, and I am thrilled that One Holyoke CDC is receiving this funding through the GGCP to plant trees throughout Holyoke,” said State Senator John Velis (D-Westfield). “Tree canopies bring enormous benefits to our communities, from mitigating climate change to reducing energy usage, and I am grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for their commitment to this important program.”
“One Holyoke CDC has once again tapped into its neighborhood's fundamental needs by investing in trees,” said State Representative Patricia Duffy (D-Holyoke). “Trees add to our densely populated cities' quality of life with shade, cooling, and beauty. I am so grateful for this work in my city.”
The GGCP Implementation Grant and Partnership Grant awards will facilitate tree planting in 16 Gateway Cities by funding municipalities and non-profit organizations seeking to maximize tree planting in urban residential areas of Gateway Cities to augment tree planting that DCR is actively pursuing within designated planting zones. The GGCP Implementation Grant awardees are:
The Partnership Grant awards advance DCR tree planting in 14 Gateway Cities by funding municipalities that partner with DCR to prepare sites for tree planting, as well as non-profit partners conducting outreach to identify residents and business owners willing to receive free trees. The GGCP Partnership Grant awardees are:
For more information regarding the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, please visit the program’s webpage.
Pictured: Governor Maura Healey and Mayor Christenson at a recent tree planting event in Malden.
Press release issued by Governor Healey's office.