Village of La Grange Park awarded urban forestry funding

The village of La Grange Park was awarded a $20,000 grant to complete tree inventories and develop a management plan for its urban forest.

The cost of the work is $24,050, with the village contributing $4,050.

The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Core Grant Program, and administered by The Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, a news release stated.

“Trees are an important part of our community’s quality of life, and maintaining a healthy urban forest is an essential component for our residents and businesses,” Village President Jim Discipio stated in the release. “To that regard, the village is dedicated to trees as environmental assets.”

Currently, the village is committed to the implementation of GIS mapping software into the community. The initial data from the tree inventory will be imported into the GIS platform, providing a baseline of the tree species, current condition, size and location of all the village trees.

A comprehensive forestry management plan will assist public works staff with future tree planting locations, species diversification, pruning cycles, accurate mapping and maximum responsiveness to citizen inquiries. The inventory is scheduled to begin this fall, with completion around November, and data implementation into the end of the year.

“Urban trees are critical infrastructure for a community, and this funding helps to protect one of its most important resources,” Lydia Scot, director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, stated in the release. “Trees clean our air and water, reduce flooding and heat, improve our mental and physical health, and provide important habitat for birds and other wildlife.”

The grants provide communities with a better understanding of the urban forest areas they’re managing by revealing an estimated number of trees, their size, condition and species. The inventories also identify opportunities to increase planting, and will inform the development of a comprehensive, long-term urban forest management plan.