Tacoma’s Hilltop Diversitree Project kicks off Oct. 11

The City of Tacoma will mark the beginning of an ambitious project to expand the number of street trees in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood during a tree planting ceremony this week.

The Hilltop Diversitree Project aims to plant more than 200 trees throughout a 12- to 15-block area that runs north to south from South 9th to Earnest S. Brazill streets and east to west from South J Street to South Sheridan Avenue.

In addition to planting trees such as Triumph elm, Katsura, willow oak, and evergreens, the City of Tacoma plans to build four medians on South 11th Street between South J Street and South Sheridan Avenue in an effort to provide additional locations to grow trees without reducing the amount of available parking, offering more rooting volume than traditional street tree pits, eliminating conflicts between street trees, buildings and signs, and providing traffic calming effects. Elsewhere, trees are proposed to be planted in turf planting strips, as well as existing asphalt planting strips meeting a minimum width of five feet. Dead, damaged or inappropriate trees in the wrong places will be removed and replaced.

The project has been made possible by a donation of $100,000 from an anonymous donor to The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and an additional $30,000 for three years of project maintenance from the Donald R. and Mary E. Williams Horticulture Fund of The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Funding assistance is also provided by USDA Forest Service and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Programs.

The Hilltop Diversitree Project helps move Tacoma toward a goal of 30 per cent tree canopy to maximize the environmental benefits that trees provide, such as absorbing storm water, improving air quality, sequestering carbon and shading homes and streets. The City of Tacoma encourages diverse tree plantings because it lessens the chance of large disease or insect-caused die-offs robbing the community of these environmental benefits.

An event to kick off the project will be held on Fri., Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at People’s Park, located at 900 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma City Councilmember Lauren Walker, and the Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark are scheduled attend the event, which includes a ceremonial tree planting. Additionally, City of Tacoma officials will mark Tacoma’s 19th year as a Tree City USA community, 10th year as a Tree Line USA community, and sixth year that the City of Tacoma has received a Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation.

For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/diversitree.

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