CCD Adds 103 New Street Trees Downtown

CCD’s Plant Center City program has passed the halfway mark of its 200-tree goal

The Center City District Foundation is approaching its fundraising goal for planting 200 new trees in the central business district during the next two years through its initiative, Plant Center City.

There are approximately 2,300 street trees within the Center City District’s boundary; 700 of those trees were planted in the 1990s by the CCD, which continues to care for them. The goal of Plant Center City is to add 200 more and bring Center City’s total to 2,500 trees.

New trees are planted at the times of year that ensure optimal growth – typically May and October. In 2019, CCD streetscape teams planted 103 trees and are looking to reach the 200 mark in the coming year.

It costs $2,500 per tree – an average of either excavating a new trench and planting a new tree where none exist; or replacing a dead or damaged one; or maintaining CCD’s current inventory of street trees.

In 2019, Center City residents Laura and Richard Vague provided a challenge grant in which contributions were matched dollar-for-dollar up to $125,000. Now that their challenge grant goal has been reached, the Vagues have offered to continue matching gifts to Plant Center City on a 1:1 basis. Because of this match, donors can “adopt a tree” for $1,250 and donations of all sizes will be used to maintain current and newly planted trees through pruning, watering, fertilization and pest management. In total, CCD so far has raised $325,000 for the Plant Center City initiative.

Research on the benefits of urban greening consistently finds that trees offer many measurable and dramatic improvements to cities. They can decrease urban air temperatures, reducing air conditioning bills for homes and businesses; they absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants; they add value to adjacent homes and businesses; they reduce stress levels and improve emotional well-being; and they increase pedestrian safety by calming traffic. Trees also make good business sense by creating attractive, pleasant urban environments that attract shoppers and encourage them to stay longer.

Center City District plants mature, hardy 2.5-inch caliper trees that initially stand 12 to 14 feet tall and can withstand harsh urban environments. Native tree varieties planted by CCD include oak, cypress, sycamore and hornbeam.

More than 300 years after William Penn founded Philadelphia as a “greene countrie towne” with streets named after trees, CCD through the Plant Center City program is working to sustain that founding vision for future generations.

Plant Center City is also supported by TD and Lyft.

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