Youngstown, Warren to plant 5,000 trees from $5M US grant

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and its partners have received a $5 million federal grant to plant 5,000 trees in Youngstown and Warren and remove thousands of dead ones in the two cities over the next five years.

Most of the 2-inch thick caliper trees, as tall as 8 feet,will be planted on vacant greenspace in the cities on land where dilapidated residential houses once stood as well as in parks and on properties owned by the cities and / or public bodies such as county land banks, said Ian Beniston, YNDC’s executive director.

“The core of this is tree planting and tree maintenance,” he said. “It’s important for the cities because we have a good amount of tree maintenance needed and we want to replace those trees with new ones. It adds to the overall environmental health of the communities, transforms the physical environment and increases property values.”

The YNDC is among 19 Ohio cities or organizations to receive grants for tree planting and maintenance or tree-related workforce development from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The YNDC program is receiving the second-largest allocation in Ohio, with only Toledo getting more at $6.1 million.

The federal program is providing more than $1 billion in funding to 385 projects nationwide through a competitive grant process with the money coming from the $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was supported by congressional Democrats and opposed by their Republican counterparts. The focus of the forestry program is to provide urban forest planning and management, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Among YNDC’s partners in this venture are the Mahoning County Land Bank, the city of Youngstown, the Trumbull County Land Bank, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, Youngstown CityScape and Healthy Community Partnership.

Much of the tree planting will be done in the fall and the spring with the first tree planted Thursday at a vacant lot at 1303 Glenwood Ave. in Youngstown.

The planting of 5,000 trees will be done by a number of organizations, including YNDC and TNP, with local contractors hired to remove trees, Beniston said.

“With $5 million worth of work related to trees, this will be a job creator,” he said.

While the focus will be on tree planting and tree maintenance, the grant also will pay to develop a tree inventory and management plan for the two cities, provide forestry training to local professionals and young adults, and create living wage jobs, according to the USDA announcement.


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