Fresno city leaders aim to have more trees planted throughout city

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno City leaders want to increase the city's green spaces.

Council Vice President Tyler Maxwell is looking to create more vibrant neighborhoods across the city by planting new trees on public property in the most needed areas.

According to Maxwell, Fresno has a tree equity problem.

"Many older neighborhoods, especially those in central and south Fresno, experience high rates of blight, oftentimes directly due to the lack of trees planted and invested into those neighborhoods," Maxwell said.

The policy calls for Fresno to add 1,000 new trees every year until 2035, while establishing an incentive program for residents and business owners who wish to plant trees on their property.

If passed, the city will set aside $400,000 from the budget as seed money for the project and assisting with ongoing maintenance.

They will also fund $50,000 in grants every year to hire young adults to help plant the trees.

"We're going to make sure we dedicate a portion of those dollars over the next two years so we can have people out there planting trees, replacing trees, etc," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Additional trees would not only provide more shade but help to reduce pollution in a city that already deals with some of the worst air quality in the nation.

But some of the benefits are harder to quantify.

"Studies show direct correlation between neighborhoods with more trees and neighborhoods with less crime. And very importantly, studies show neighborhoods and communities rich with tree canopies are also shown to have a higher life expectancy," Maxwell said.

Trees planted will be selected to minimize surface roots, tree droppings and excessive watering.

The City Council is expected to vote on this resolution Thursday.
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