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Mayor Greening Initiative planting hundreds of trees in downtown Grand Rapids

Telling volunteers that her heart breaks that some local homes are visible from the freeway, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss began the Greening Initiative by thanking the large group that had shown up for the event.

“Thank you every single person for being here this morning and helping kickoff the first Mayor’s Greening Initiative. I am struck by how much opportunity we have along the expressway to plant


The Mayor’s Greening Initiative began in 2011 with the City Commission adopting a “Green Grand Rapids” amendment to the City’s master plan. The amendment set sights on 40 percent of Grand Rapids falling under a canopy of trees. Currently sitting at 35%, the Mayor hopes Friday’s efforts will be the final push needed to reach the city’s goal.

“There are so many benefits to trees, environmental benefits, quality of life, we know that there is really good data about the impact of trees on storm water runoff and air quality, but also when you are in a densely populated city, trees add so much, especially in a neighborhood like this that is right against the expressway, these trees will add a buffer for this neighborhood and the children that live here.”

Also during the ceremony, the Mayor unveiled The Helen & Rich DeVos Tribute Grove at the corner of Coit Avenue and Hastings Street. The grove features 15 new trees, a flower garden, and a plaque recognizing the DeVos’ efforts in Grand Rapids.

Volunteers later planted more than 300 new trees around the city. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. pledged to plant an additional 200 trees over the next few months.

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