More than 300 years after William Penn’s founding vision of Philadelphia as a ‘greene countrie towne’ with streets named after trees, we still take pride in his original plan with vibrant civic squares and walkable tree-lined streets. That’s why Center City District created the Plant Center City program—a way to promote all things green in downtown Philadelphia.
In 2018, the Center City District Foundation had the goal of planting 200 new trees in the central business district over two years. 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 the Plant Center City program was to bring Center City’s total to 2,500 trees.
Thanks to a generous challenge grant provided by Center City residents Laura and Richard Vague, contributions were be matched dollar-for-dollar and our goal was met by the close of 2020. Donations of all sizes were received to plant and maintain trees through pruning, watering, fertilization and pest management.
Research studies on the effects of urban greening have consistently shown 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, making the air healthier; 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 and reducing speeds. Trees make good business sense, too, by creating attractive, pleasant urban environments that attract shoppers and encourage them to stay longer.
In late 2021, thanks to Center City District donors, CCD added 81 beautiful new planters to Center City’s bustling West Walnut Street retail corridor through the Plant Center City program. These lush and vibrant planters are being maintained throughout 2022 with three seasonal plant rotations through the support of eight Center City Property owners.
If you would like to contribute to the continued beautification and greening of downtown Philadelphia, make a gift today. Donors to the Plant Center City program will enable Center City District to sustain Penn’s vision for generations to come.
The Center City District Foundation would like to thank the following donors who made Plant Center City possible:
David Adelman, Susanna Lachs Adler and Dean Adler, Sheldon Bonovitz, Cashman & Associates, David & Rhonda Cohen, Allan Domb, Brian Effron, Steven Elkin, Jaimie and David Field, FS Foundation, Elaine Gelb, Tracey and Thomas Gravina, Edward T. Harvey, Lauren and Michael Heller, Independence Blue Cross, Independence Foundation, Bruce Kardon, Kevin Kleinschmidt, Josh and Rena Kopelman, Bob Lane and Randi Zemsky, the Lubert Family Foundation, Suzanne Markel-Fox (in honor of Marzán Cross), MPN Realty, Ralph W. Muller, Parkway Corporation, Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company, Doc & Katherine Parghi, Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman, Theodore R. Robb, Ronald Rubin, Saramar Charitable Fund, David Schlessinger, David Seltzer, H. Hetherington Smith,the Snider Foundation, Wayne Spilove, Stockton Real Estate Advisors, the Tuttleman Family Foundation, Laura and Richard Vague, Joan K. Wells, and the Wyncote Foundation.