COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus is preparing to enter an important phase of a master plan to increase the number of trees across the city.
The goal is to almost double the tree canopy in the next 30 years and this is the second year of the plan.
This past spring, Columbus planted more than 2,000 trees as part of the plan; some were planted in parks and others along streets.
Rosalie Hendon, an environmental planner with Columbus Recreation and Parks, said this summer is important to the project moving forward.
More shade. That’s the goal of the Columbus Urban Forestry Master Plan.
“We need trees, trees are like a life source for us,” said Aaron Best who grew up in Columbus.
The goal is to plant in every neighborhood, especially where it’s needed most.
“There’s just like strip malls and rundown buildings but no trees anywhere, but when you get to the affluent neighborhoods, it’s just like tree-lined streets, things like that,” Best said talking about tree cover.
The latest data from 2015 says the city has only 22 percent tree cover.
“Research has shown a relationship with crime, with reduced rates of crime with higher tree canopy, increased spending in business districts and just better health — reduction in asthma rates,” Hendon said.
She said that this summer, the plan focuses on studies to help determine fall and spring planting. A heat study is in the works to track temperatures around Columbus.
“We want to be prioritizing based on an equity analysis within the plan, so looking where trees can do the most good,” Hendon said.
The plan will also prioritize examining the tree canopy to see how much progress has been made since 2015 and creating a public tree inventory.
“Building out a database of planting spaces, so we’ll be looking at that along with the equity analysis, but we’ll likely go… I know we’re planning on doing at least a park planting on the south side,” Hendon said.
The planning website breaks down the tree canopy in each neighborhood you can see that by clicking here.