Mayor Plans To Green Up Tulsa

Wednesday, January 30th 2008, 7:37 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa's Mayor plans to green up Tulsa with new trees to replace those lost in the ice storm.  The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports the effort is backed with a challenge grant from the Tulsa Community Foundation.  The effort to replace damaged trees started at Owen Park on Wednesday, backed with the political muscle of city hall and some private money.

The current estimate is that Tulsa lost 20,000 trees in the ice storm and as much as one-third of the shade cover provided by trees.

The loss is most evident in parks where the trees are mature and the limbs remain.  But experts believe the most significant loss is in neighborhoods, where trees affect property values and quality of life.

"This city feels like Tulsa and Green Country, it's a place we like to live in part because of the trees we have here, but beyond that, trees have a big impact on air quality, water quality, storm water runoff, habitat for animals, the cooling effect," said Anna America, Up With Trees.

Mayor Kathy Taylor wants Tulsans to help replace what was lost, both on public land and private property.  She's raising private money to get Tulsa started on planting 20,000 new trees.

"We will have guidance on how to buy trees, that don't interfere with power lines and can withstand a storm and we'll have ways for people to get discounts on trees," said Mayor Taylor.

The effort at replanting will in the neighborhoods as well.  Homeowners will be able to get advice on which trees to plant and they'll be able to buy trees at discounted prices.

That part of the program is called NeighborWoods and is designed to encourage people to plants trees on their own property.

"The NeighborWoods part of this will start moving into the neighborhoods, in part because neighborhoods were hard hit, that's where we lost the bulk of our trees probably," said America.

One tree was the start, but the leaders of the effort hope to replant all of the trees lost in the storm and then some.         

The money is coming from the Tulsa Community Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and from PSO.