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Baker-Polito Administration Expands Greening the Gateway Cities Program to Include Revere & Chicopee

Friday, June 12, 2015   (0 Comments)
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REVERE – June 12, 2015 – Today, at a tree planting ceremony at Fredericks Park in Revere, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew A. Beaton announced an initiative to expand the Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP) to include the cities of Revere and Chicopee. The program, which targets the Commonwealth’s 26 Gateway Cities, is designed to utilize tree plantings as a way to reduce energy use in urban neighborhoods and lower heating and cooling costs for residents and businesses.

“By extending the Greening the Gateway Cities Program to include the communities of Revere and Chicopee, our Administration continues its commitment to work closely with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to provide resources that benefit municipalities and improve the state’s environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

“Increased tree canopy will provide our communities with the first, and best, line of defense from excessive urban summer heat, and the biting winds of winter,” said Secretary Beaton. “In addition to benefiting the Commonwealth in terms of energy efficiency, the Greening the Gateway Cities Program will provide the residents of Revere and Chicopee with cleaner air and water, reduced noise pollution, and the beatification of homes and neighborhoods within their community.”

With a defined goal of a 10 percent increase in urban tree canopy in selected neighborhoods within Gateway Cities, the increase in tree cover is expected to reduce heating and cooling costs in the selected areas by approximately 10 percent, with an average homeowner saving approximately $230 a year, once the trees reach maturity. Over their lifespan, the trees are expected to lead to $400 million in energy savings for residents and businesses.

Aimed at improving the often low tree canopy found in the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities due to their urban character and history of manufacturing, the programs benefits are not isolated to energy efficiency. By planting trees, communities will see a reduction in storm water runoff, higher air quality, an increase in property values and tax receipts, and a safer, healthier environment for residents.

Under the program, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is spearheading tree planting efforts and is in the process of planting up to a combined 15,000 trees in Chelsea, Holyoke, and Fall River. Agency staff, working in partnership with local municipalities and grassroots organizations, have developed a successful approach to planting the number of trees required to have an energy impact, focusing on high-density urban neighborhoods, where planting on average 10 trees per acre will provide benefits to 15 to 25 households. Planting this number of trees will increase canopy by an estimated 1 percent in eight years, and 10 percent in 30 years.

“The Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP) is not only an important tool in our overall urban forestry plan, but will be an engine for job creation and energy sustainability in these communities,” said DCR Commissioner Carol Sanchez. “DCR is proud to continue the long standing partnership between the Bureau of Forestry and the cities of Chicopee, Revere, Chelsea, Holyoke, and Fall River. With the help of local community and grassroots organizations, GGCP will pay dividends in these high density urban communities where green space is needed most.”

“We are pleased to support tree planting in Gateway Cities, as trees are long term contributors to our efforts to meet Massachusetts’ energy and climate goals,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson.

To implement the expansion of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, the DCR will partner with the city governments of Revere and Chicopee and community groups to plant approximately 100 trees this June, and thousands more to come. The program will also benefit the local economies of Revere and Chicopee by creating jobs for local residents. DCR will hire local workers for tree planting teams in each city, and every tree being planted will be purchased from Massachusetts nurseries.

“We are grateful to Secretary Beaton and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, along with the Baker Administration, for providing the city of Revere with the resources needed to increase our inventory of trees,” said Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo. “Increasing tree canopy and green space is vital to continue to make Revere a great place to live, work and raise a family. This has been and will continue to be a crucial priority for my Administration.”

“Greening the Gateway Cities program is an innovative program that addresses a multitude of critical issues facing Massachusetts while making our cities better places to live and raise a family,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Revere). “I’m proud of how Revere has flourished as a Gateway City and I thank the Baker Administration, our partners in the federal government and the local groups that are so committed to our community’s environment.”

“I want to thank Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito and their administration for providing the City of Revere with a ‘Greening the Gateway Cities’ grant,” said State Representative RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere). “It is important that as an urban community, we make investments in our green spaces so that that families and children have a place to retreat from the bustle of the city. Through the Baker-Polito Administration’s generosity, Revere will be able to use this funding to continue to green our urban area.”

“I’m very pleased to see the efforts of the Greening the Gateway Cities initiative come to fruition right here in Revere,” said Senator Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston). “The program is an effective way to best ensure environmental and energy efficiency with our constituents seeing benefits both esthetically and fiscally.”

“The City of Chicopee greatly appreciates the Commonwealth’s commitment through our City and its neighborhoods by providing us with a number of replacement trees,” said Chicopee Mayor Richard J. Kos. “As a Gateway City, positive impact on neighborhoods and our community as a whole will be measured.”

"Greening the Gateway Cities is a great fit for Chicopee, and I am pleased that its residents will benefit not only from the energy-saving and environmental aspects of the program, but also from the beautification of their neighborhoods as the tree-planting progresses,” said State Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield).

Follow EEA Secretary Beaton on Twitter
View downloadable photographs on Flickr
Visit the Energy Smarts blog
Visit The Great Outdoors blog
Visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs website

Courtesy of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Katie Gronendyke

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