By Michele Owen—
MUNCIE, IN—On Friday November 3rd, City officials completed the 1,000 Trees in 1,000 Days project – 41 days ahead of schedule. Mayor Ridenour formally launched the 1,000 Trees program in 2021, with the goal to replenish the “Cathedral of Green” that had been decimated by the Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease. The initiative focused on City parks and lots that needed beautification, and prioritized native hardwoods such as oaks, maples, and even Paw-Paw.
As of 2022, the project was running ahead of schedule with a total of 700 trees. Nearly 400 trees will have been planted in 2023, bringing the grand total to 1,081. There are an additional 120 plantings that have been approved, meaning the total could reach as high as 1,200.
“If we’re going to make a lasting difference for our city, we have to think about lasting benefit,” commented Mayor Ridenour. “Planting a tree that will live for a century is such a long-term investment in Muncie.” In addition to beautification, trees bring numerous benefits to neighborhoods, including increased property value, climate control, decreased soil erosion and water runoff, and cleaner air.
The 1,000 Trees project has received national recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation, and is just a starting point for Muncie. The City recently received a $2 million grant to continue tree planting efforts, with a focus on neighborhoods with lower median income. This grant project will launch in 2024 and continue over a period of 5 years.
Michele Owen is Communications Director for the City of Muncie.
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