It’s amazing the difference that one person can make and you will be able to witness it firsthand in the Hilltop neighborhood. Thanks to an anonymous donor, the South 11th Street core of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood is getting a major economic and environmental boost – the gift of more than 200 trees.
An Inspiring Investment
The 12 to 15 block Hilltop Diversitree street tree planting project has been made possible by a donation of $100,000 from an anonymous donor to the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and an additional $30,000 for three years of project maintenance from the Donald R. and Mary E. Williams Horticulture Fund of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Given that trees increase property values and shoppers in well landscaped areas spend more, it’s a gift that will keep on giving.
The image to the right shows the same section of South 10th Street at South L Street before and after the planting. The left side of the image shows the section before planting and the right side of the image shows the section during planting.
Funding assistance is also provided by USDA Forest Service and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Programs. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
The donations are arriving amidst a recent upswing in development activity bringing a series of new mixed-use developments to the neighborhood. The trees will further support Hilltop’s pedestrian friendly and vibrant destination vision. The focus of the project runs north to south from South 9th to Earnest S. Brazill streets and east to west from South J Street to South Sheridan Avenue.
The project is a unique collaboration between private sector, economic development and environmental interests. The City’s Community and Economic Development and Environmental Services departments are helping the generous and impressive gifts go even further by managing the project and splitting an additional $80,000 for an estimated total project cost and benefit of $175,000 to $200,000. It is a relatively small cost for what will surely create a big impact.
A Regional Demonstration
The City will plant in right-of-way areas by constructing three medians on South 11th Street between South J Street and South Sheridan Avenue, removing asphalt in planting strips and replacing a few dead, damaged or undesirable trees. A key component of the project is to achieve tree diversity and Right Tree, Right Place demonstrations for the greater community and region by:
- Selecting over 20 small and cultivated tree species and cultivated varieties appropriate for planting under existing power lines using Safeway’s north, south and west planting strips along South 11th Street, South Sheridan Ave Earnest S. Brazill Street.
- Creating a "tree boulevard" feel while using diverse species with similar forms and sizes such as the three shade species with vibrant yellow to purple-red fall colors selected by the Hilltop Neighborhood Business District in 2009 - Triumph elm (Ulmus 'Morton Glossy'), Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) and willow oak (Quercus phellos).
- Planting additional species, including evergreens for year-round visual interest, to further achieve differing life spans and enable staggered replacement, thereby avoiding a large end-of-life die-off in the future.
- Choosing suitably hardy trees for urban areas with deep roots where sidewalks need to be maintained in good condition.
View a larger image of the Hilltop Diversitree Public Planting Plan.
Furthering Environmental Stewardship
Hilltop Diversitree moves Tacoma toward a goal of 30 percent tree canopy to maximize the environmental benefits that trees provide, such as absorbing storm water, improving air quality, sequestering carbon and shading homes and streets. The City encourages diverse tree plantings because it lessens the chance of large disease or insect-caused die-offs robbing the community of these environmental benefits. You can Diversitree your own property by making use of City of Tacoma tree-planting resources, such as site selection advice and EnviroHouse classes.
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