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$5 million grant program aims to encourage property owners to plant more trees in Downtown Denver

Incentive could combat tree deserts
Posted at 5:43 PM, Sep 03, 2019

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DENVER -- Shade can be hard to come by in Downtown Denver. As the city continues to grow, we're seeing more concrete and not necessarily more trees.

A new grant program is hoping to make downtown a little more green. A $5 million fund is set aside for the Urban Forest Initiative Grant that would give property owners an extra incentive to improve their landscaping.

Grants up to $18,000 will be available to downtown properties in order to expand their current tree planting areas or add new ones. Additional information about the initiative can be found here.

The Downtown Denver Partnership, Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the City of Denver and private donors teamed up with the common goal of adding more trees.

"Trees just give us so many benefits, they make our city safer, they make it more beautiful, they improve our air quality," said Amanda Miller, with the Downtown Denver Partnership.

She explained that planting a tree downtown is often more complicated and costly than planting in a park. She hopes the extra incentive from the grant will help offset those costs.

"It costs more because you’re doing the concrete work, you have to plant the tree, get the permits from the city. It’s just a lot more than planting a tree in a grassy area that already exists," said Miller.

An international real estate firm called Hines has already applied for a grant to improve the area surrounding its building on 17th Avenue and Lawrence.

"We’re hoping to upgrade, along 17th Street. We have a lot of trees along the property line and throughout the whole city block, but we have a couple of trees that need some help and we’re trying to enhance the existing planter to make it a little more friendly for a tree to thrive over the next 20 to 30 years," said Jennifer Hallinan Deleon, General Property Manager for Hines.