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LYNN — At a ceremonial planting, Governor Charlie Baker, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Leo Roy, today joined with City of Lynn officials and others to celebrate the planting of the 10,000th tree under the Commonwealth’s Greening the Gateway Cities Program. The program, which increases the number of trees within urban neighborhoods, provides energy efficiency and environmental benefits to Gateway Cities across Massachusetts. Since the program’s inception, 13 of the state’s 26 Gateway Cities have participated.
“Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of innovative environmental initiatives, such as the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, that provide benefits to homeowners, local businesses, and municipalities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth is grateful to see so many positive results from the efforts of our dedicated foresters and tree planting crews to reduce energy consumption through increased urban tree canopy.”
“From Pittsfield to Lynn, thirteen of the Commonwealth’s cities have directly benefitted from partnerships under the Greening the Gateway Cities Program and we look forward to planting the next 10,000 trees,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to investing in the future of the Commonwealth’s urban communities, protecting and enhancing important environmental resources.”
Last year, the Baker-Polito Administration expanded the Greening the Gateway Cities Program to include Lynn alongside the cities of Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, and Revere. To support planting in these thirteen cities, the Commonwealth is investing $8 million per year in energy efficiency and state capital funds to plant thousands of trees averaging six feet in height. Already, more than 200 trees have been planted in the City of Lynn, progressing toward the goal of 2,400. As the trees mature, the program is expected to yield financial benefits that amount to more than twice the investment made by the Baker-Polito Administration.
“The expansion of DCR’s Greening the Gateway Cities Program has allowed communities like Lynn to reap the benefits of a healthier, more vibrant urban tree canopy, while allowing the Commonwealth to pursue its emission reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton. “Connecting residents with the nature around them is good for both our climate and our economy, and I look forward to seeing thousands more trees planted across our Gateway Cities in the near future.”
Through the program, communities will see numerous benefits, including:
An expansion of the urban tree canopy by 5-10% in select neighborhoods in each Gateway City;
Savings of approximately $230 a year through reduced heating and cooling costs for each household within selected neighborhoods;
Increased property values for thousands of residents living within 50 feet of new trees;
Increased tax receipts for cities thanks to more valuable properties;
Hiring of foresters and tree planting crews from the cities where planting takes place;
Reduction in stormwater runoff;
Increased air quality; and
A safer, healthier environment for residents.
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation is fortunate to have so many partners at the local level who have worked closely with us to implement successful programs like Greening the Gateway Cities, and today’s planting signifies how much has been accomplished,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “Importantly, by increasing tree canopy within urban communities, the Baker-Polito Administration is able to improve air quality, reduce energy consumption, and further beautify neighborhoods, by bringing parks to the people.”
“It’s great to celebrate the planting of the 10,000th tree through the Greening the Gateway Cities Program here in Lynn today,” said State Senator Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn). “State and local partnerships such as this will result in safer, healthier environments for our residents.”
“From our thousands of acres of forest in Lynn Woods to our many parklands across the city, we have always taken pride in our trees and natural resources,” said State Representative Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn).”This program is both great for the environment and improves our neighborhoods.”
“Urban forestation leads to a cleaner environment and a decrease in adverse health effects,” said State Representative Dan Cahill (D-Lynn). “Greening the Gateway Cities program is a successful commitment to growing Lynn’s urban ecosystem and benefiting us for years to come.”
Residents or property owners in targeted neighborhoods within the 13 Gateway Cities where planting is taking place that wish to participate may sign up to receive planted trees at no costs as long as they commit to watering the trees for two summers. Interested parties may call the DCR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program at 617-626-1502 or visit the agency’s website.