Budget deficit takes its toll on tree planting

    With a one-million dollar bump in funding for Fairmount Park when Mayor Nutter first took office, the park was able to plant over eleven-hundred trees last fall, almost 3 times what it planted in previous years. But with the budget problems and spring around the corner, the number of tree plantings is back down.

    With a one-million dollar bump in funding for Fairmount Park when Mayor Nutter first took office, the park was able to plant over eleven-hundred trees last fall, almost 3 times what it planted in previous years. But with the budget problems and spring around the corner, the number of tree plantings is back down.

    Transcript:
    After giving back over half a million dollars of the funding increase this spring, Fairmount Park will be planting around 450 trees this spring. But the park doesn’t do it alone. Private and state-funded partners help with tree planting. Turns out, they’re struggling too. The state-funded Treevitalize program has set a goal to plant 1000 trees in Philadelphia each season, but at this point there’s only funding for 850. Michael Leff is program manager at Treevitalize.

    Michael Leff: “The one wonderful thing is we are not being held back by a lack of demand. The challenge is piecing together various pots of funding to be able to plant all the trees we would otherwise be able to.”

    Both Fairmount Park and Treevitalize set tree planting priorities through requests from citizens. Hundreds of requests will be rolled over from the spring into the fall planting season.

    Listen:
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    [audio: arts20090326trees.mp3]

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