UNION COUNTY – Fourteen municipalities in Union County will plant a total of 1,000 trees this year with the help of funding from the “Greening Union County” grant program.
The program helps local governments offset the cost of planting trees, through matching grants from the Union County Open Space, Historic Preservation and Recreation Trust Fund.
“The benefits of planting trees in our towns go far beyond aesthetics. They have an intrinsic environmental and economic value,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The Freeholder Board is committed to the on-going support of our municipalities’ greening efforts.”
Freeholder Angel G. Estrada initiated the program while serving as Freeholder Board Chairman in 2004, and since its inception 6281 trees have been planted throughout Union County.
Depending on the applicants’ needs, “Greening Union County” provides grants for new trees at public parks, historic sites and other public facilities, as well as on streets.
“It has long been known that trees in urban areas have a positive impact on air quality and storm water management,” said Deborah P. Scanlon, chairman of the Open Space Trust Fund. “But what many people fail to realize is that well placed trees can also reduce cooling and heating costs, and even increase property values of homes throughout the area.”
The program includes installation by forestry professionals with a one-year maintenance guarantee.
This year’s grants, totaling $93,003.00 will go to Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Elizabeth, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, and Union.
For additional information on the “Greening Union County” grant program contact Victoria Durbin Drake of the Union County Office of Open Space, Historic Preservation and Recreation Trust Fund at 1-908-558-2278, or visit online at www.ucnj.org/community/parks-recreation/open-space-trust-fund.