Flint, Michigan — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has granted $208,579 to the Genesee Conservation District (GCD) for the removal of more than 330 dead and dangerous trees throughout the city of Flint.
The targeted trees are referred to as street trees, which are city-owned trees located in traffic islands, medians and the right-of-way between the sidewalk and the curb. GCD will focus on trees that are dead or declining in health and pose a danger to nearby people or properties. Tree removal is expected to begin later this winter.
“Our forestry work is improving safety while restoring neighborhood vitality through green infrastructure,” said Angela Warren, administrator at the GCD. “The Genesee Conservation District will continue to encourage and activate conservation in the revitalization of our neighborhoods and community.
A comprehensive inventory and assessment completed in April 2015 identified and analyzed the entire street tree canopy in Flint. All trees were assessed based on viability and safety considerations.
Since 2015, GCD and the City of Flint Street Maintenance Department have removed more than 3,500 street trees and trimmed nearly 1,600 in Flint. Today, there are approximately 26,000 street trees in Flint. The benefits of a vibrant urban forest are numerous, Warren said.
“Healthy trees, both public and private, are valuable assets to our community. Street trees give us economic, environmental, social and wellness benefits,” Warren said. “When dead and dangerous trees fail, they create safety threats for people and property. They interrupt safe travel for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Healthy street trees create a sense of place and community cohesion, and they are aesthetically pleasing. Street trees in poor condition, those that are severely declining, or are dead, create nuisance situations and blight.”
The trees chosen for removal will be marked. Flint residents who live at a location where a street tree will be removed will receive a letter from the GCD this month explaining the process.
“Throughout many Mott Foundation community conversations and our Focus on Flint initiative, residents expressed their frustrations over dead and fallen trees throughout their neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Acree, program officer at the Mott Foundation. “We hope this grant can help alleviate some of the blight and damage caused by these trees throughout the city.”
Residents can contact the City of Flint Street Maintenance Department at 810-766-7343 to report trees suspected of being dead or dangerous, or to request that a tree be inspected, pruned or have its canopy raised.
When it is time to plant more trees, residents will be invited to provide input.