The city of Porterdale looks to make three of their parks greener by planting trees with money from a grant.
The city received a $2,400 grant from the 2012"Making the Shade Program." According to the Georgia Forestry Commission website, the program was started to help create healthier, shaded playground areas on elementary school campuses in Georgia.
By planting trees on playgrounds, the program hopes to reduce the surface temperatures of school yards and on playground equipment, reduce ultraviolet radiation and decrease temperatures on the playground in order to improve air quality and reduce the risk for children with asthma and other lung related issues. The program also lists several other benefits of planting trees on playgrounds and in communities.
Porterdale city manager Bob Thomson said the city was excited to receive the grant. He said the city would use the money from the grant to purchase trees for three of the city's pocket parks located on Elm, Pine and Hemlock streets. He said the trees planted at the parks would help reduce some childhood health issues.
"Trees will help us make the parks more attractive to kids and their families, which will help children stay fit and fight childhood obesity," he said.
Thomson said the city expects the trees to be planted some time this fall. He said the city's pocket parks have irrigation systems to ensure they stay healthy and grow tall. Thomson said the city will soon decide which types of trees would be best for each park.
"We expect to purchase trees of a 3-4 inch caliper; the species will be chosen based on Mr. Budd's advice. Our Tree Board chair Ms. Deanna Kelly will also assist with choosing the best trees for the different parks," Thomson said.
Sustainable Community Forester Beryl Budd said even though the tree grant is usually used for planting trees at elementary schools, Porterdale received the grant because of its small pocket parks. He said he enjoyed helping communities and schools with the program.
"I enjoy working with communities to plant trees and increase tree canopy and these Making the Shade projects bring partners together to make it happen. A lot of history is in Porterdale and the streets are named after trees so it will make a great Tree City," Budd said.
Thomson said he was thankful for Budd's assistance to the city in helping them receive the grant. He said the city is looking forward to planting the trees and improving their playgrounds.
"We're very grateful to Beryl Budd, our state community forester, for making us aware of the grant and assisting us through this process," Thomson said.
"We're excited and we can't wait until we get the trees to the playgrounds."