The benefits of a healthy urban forest are endless, from our health and wellbeing to the vibrancy of our downtown. Trees are not only beautiful but also are essential to the livelihood of Denverites. Trees provide increased property value, higher spending from consumers, higher income streams for businesses, reduced time on the market for real estate listings, and return on investment in terms of ecological and economic benefits.
The Downtown Denver Partnership, along with the City and County of Denver, and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, has launched the Urban Forest Initiative to grow Denver’s urban forest through education, built infrastructure, and maintenance.
Thanks to funding from the City, BID, generous grant funding from Bank of America Charitable Foundation, FirstBank, the Zoellner Family, and additional philanthropic support, 17 grantees have been awarded funding for the expansion of 113 tree planting areas in downtown Denver. This is an important step in the Downtown Denver Partnership’s goal to increase the downtown tree canopy from 4 percent to 10 percent..
“Rooted in the 2007 Downtown Area Plan’s charge to continue to build a greener center city, the Urban Forest Initiative is a key component of our work to build an economically healthy, vibrant, and growing downtown. Trees offer both economic and environmental benefits and a healthy urban tree canopy is key to building a place where business thrives and where people want to be,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
In support of the Urban Forest Initiative, Bank of America announced a $500,000 grant to the Downtown Denver Partnership.
“Bank of America is actively engaged in addressing climate change and demands on critical natural resources. This includes philanthropic commitments, a focus on sustainable finance and enhancing our own operations by becoming carbon neutral and utilizing 100 percent renewable electricity by end of 2020,” said Raju Patel, Denver market president, Bank of America. “The Urban Forest Initiative is a project that demonstrates how by working together across the public, private and nonprofit sector, we can have a positive environmental impact in urban areas like Denver for generations to come.”
The Urban Forest Initiative is part of The Outdoor Downtown Plan’s goal to create vibrant outdoor spaces in Denver’s urban core.
“The people of Denver have spoken loud and clear about what our green spaces and natural environment means to them, their families, their neighborhoods and their city. And the importance of green infrastructure as civic infrastructure – as climate protection infrastructure – in our city’s future cannot be underscored,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “That’s why the Urban Forest Initiative is important. One of the most impactful things we can do to take on the climate change challenge right here at the local level is to plant a tree – a tree that will provide shade, protect from heat and most importantly, remove carbon emissions from the air.”
Photos courtesy of Downtown Denver Partnership