By Heather Caliendo
Tulsa, OK (January 31, 2008)- On a windy Wednesday afternoon outside Tulsa’s oldest home, Mayor Kathy Taylor said Tulsa will become Green Country again. Taylor announced “ReGreen Tulsa – 20,000 by 2010,” a plan to replace all of the trees that were lost due to the December storm. She said an estimated 20,000 trees were lost.
The Tree Advisory Committee and Up with Trees Inc. are partnering with the city for the plan. The plan will require $4 million in private contributions over the next three years. A group of citizens has raised a $1.5 million challenge grant. American Electric Power – Public Service Company of Oklahoma will provide $150,000 over the life of the program.
City Councilor Cason Carter (District 9), chairman of the Tree Advisory Committee, said prior to the ice storm they had been working on a long-term strategic plan for the city’s trees. When tree limbs started falling, Taylor came to the committee to start the plan immediately. “With the great work of the Tree Advisory Committee, we have much of this plan in place, including identifying the trees which are the most likely to survive such a storm, not cause issues for our power lines and also help our environment,” said Carter.
Each ReGreen Tulsa tree will cost approximately $300.
Anna America, executive director for Up with Trees, said the plan would place trees in public areas and private properties. “We really think to have an impact on urban canopy we’ve got to be moving into the private properties,” she said.
The city encourages community support through donations or planting a tree themselves. Residents can also apply to have their neighborhood considered for the NeighborWoods program. This program will provide education and trees for areas hit hardest by the storm.
Taylor, Carter, and America planted the first ReGreen tree in Owen Park at 560 N. Maybelle St. after the announcement Wednesday. America said although the ice storm was tragic, there is a silver lining. “It really helped us focus on how much we cherished trees in Tulsa,” she said. “What we’re doing is having a very real visible impact on how beautiful, how livable and how healthy this city is for decades to come.”
Up with Trees
Tulsa Journal Record