press release

Center City District Foundation Announces “Plant Center City”

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


Initiative aims to plant 200 trees for a more attractive, comfortable, safe, vibrant downtown

PHILADELPHIA (January 24, 2019) — The Center City District Foundation (CCDF) is pleased to announce the successful launch of a new initiative, Plant Center City, which has the goal of planting 200 new trees in the central business district during the next two years.

Last night, Center City residents Laura and Richard Vague hosted a fundraiser attended by more than 50 individuals, who collectively contributed $55,000 to the CCDF to expand Center City’s canopy of healthy street trees.

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 through a schedule of routine pruning, watering, fertilization and pest management. Thanks to a generous challenge grant provided by the Vagues, donors can “adopt a tree” for only $1,250 for the first 100 trees planted by the Center City District and have their contribution matched dollar for dollar.

“There are approximately 2,300 street trees within the Center City District’s boundary and, for two decades, we have maintained 700 of them that we added in the 1990s. Through the Plant Center City program, we would like to add 200 more and bring Center City’s total to 2,500 trees,” said CCD President Paul R. Levy.

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; 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.

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. Many of the variety of trees planted by CCD are native and include oak, cypress, sycamore and hornbeam. New trees are planted at the appropriate time of year to ensure optimal growth – typically May and October as weather permits.

“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. Donors to the Plant Center City program will enable Center City District to sustain Penn’s vision for generations to come,” Levy added.

To learn more, visit

Plant Center City is also generously supported by our corporate partners TD and Lyft.


About the Center City District Foundation
Center City District Foundation (CCDF), a 501(c)3 organization, is the charity of choice for engaged citizens who care deeply about the vitality and competitiveness of Center City. Working together with the Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, CCDF supports initiatives that improve the quality of life and make downtown Philadelphia unique and engaging.