East Wynnton Park

(Columbus, GA) Trees Columbus’ NeighborWoods-supported East Wynnton Park project is restore the declining tree canopy in the East Wynnton Park area, and thereby use this neighborhood as a model for other the rest of the city.


Category: Community Development
Overview
East Wynnton Park neighborhood was once recognized as home of the most “drug-infested corner” in our country. With a median age of housing stock at 46 years, it was also designated as one of the most impoverished census tracts in Muscogee County. In partnership with NeighborWorks Columbus, Trees Columbus developed a framework for increasing resident confidence in their neighborhood. The idea was that as the revitalized neighborhood matured, residents would benefit from rising home values, safer, more attractive living conditions, and a greater sense of neighborhood pride.
Background
Since 2001, Trees Columbus, a nonprofit advocacy group, has been improving the community’s quality of life through the planting, preserving, and protecting Columbus’ trees and its natural environment.
NeighborWorks Columbus assigned a full-time community organizer to work daily in the field with neighborhood residents, community leaders, governmental officials, and other nonprofits to address neighborhood issues. Residents, potential new homebuyers, and professionals formed working committees to examine landscaping design, neighborhood marketing, lighting, and signage.
The project teams met daily to keep a close watch over the program. From the start, one of the main concerns was to convey to residents the importance of caring for the trees. Trees Columbus educated residents about the importance of trees in helping the community to become more sustainable. A poignant example turned out to be trees role in helping to decrease incidences of asthma, which was a problem in the community. Tree Columbus also brought expertise in knowing what species and where to plant in order to maximize utility cost savings. And by planting trees along the stream bank and adjacent to the developed trail, residents were encouraged to walk and use alternative means of transportation.
Trees Columbus committed to only planting trees at properties where residents or community members agreed to maintain the trees and water them weekly. To ensure success, though, trees all had gator bags and professional staff of the Urban Forestry and Beautification Division of the Columbus Consolidated Government monitored the planting sites.
Components
Many partners contributed to the success of this project. They included:
Urban Beautification Division of the Columbus Consolidated Government, which allowed Trees Columbus to purchase trees through their reforestation program. To help sustain this program, Trees Columbus established a Tree Planting Fund, into which all memorial gifts are deposited.
Scott Jones, city arborist, who oversaw site preparation, ordered plant material, arranged delivery of the trees, and monitored their maintenance after installation.
Results
* Planted 208 trees.
* Engaged 294 volunteers for 796 contributed service hours.
Lessons Learned
Work closely with the community and with the city’s forestry division to carry out the project. They are the keys to obtaining the necessary permissions from all involved parties.
Contact Information:
Dorothy McDaniel
Executive Director
Trees Columbus
P.O. Box 1531
Columbus, GA 31904
Phone: 706-571-0436
Fax: 706-596-8211