DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — More trees are coming to the City of Decatur thanks to a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The grant will go toward the 21st Century Decatur’s Urban Forests Project. City officials said Decatur has been designated a “Tree City USA” for 42 years and the grant reflects their commitment to increasing Decatur’s tree canopy.
The city and the Decatur Park District jointly filed the grant application and were awarded the full amount requested. The Urban Forests Project will last five years, planting hundreds of trees and using $150,000 per year.
Tree planting, officials added, will occur in locations determined to have the greatest impact on growing Decatur’s urban tree canopy and benefiting the highest number of underserved people. These locations will include public properties owned by both the city and the park district, private properties where owners consent to tree plantings and areas the city and park district determine to be part of a conservation and tree preservation area.
The city and park district are also planning on developing their own tree nurseries to continue urban forestry efforts beyond the five-year grant. Richland Community College and Workforce Develpment Solutions will also assist in developing training programs for future arborists to be employed in projects such as this.