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Update: Officials angling for grant funds to aid tree-planting

Federal cash is being administered at state level

[Update 10/14/23: The staff request was approved by County Board members.]


Original coverage:

How much does it cost the Arlington government – or, more specifically, Arlington taxpayers – to plant and maintain a tree?

A new grant application gives some idea: $500 per tree planting, on average, plus $500 for ongoing maintenance.

That’s according to a planned submission by the county government to state officials, seeking $300,000 from two separate grant programs to plant and maintain trees in the county.

The measure goes to the County Board for pro-forma approval on Oct. 14 before submission to state officials.

The county government aims to seek a $50,000 matching grant for planting and $250,000 non-matching grant for planting and/or maintenance. Under the state government’s program, funds for the latter must be spent in communities designated “climate and economic-justice neighborhoods”; if they win the grant funds, Arlington officials plan to expend them in the Glencarlyn, Barcroft, Arlington Mill and Buckingham areas.

While administered through the state government, the funding comes from the federal government, which as part of the controversially named Federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 made $1 billion of federal funds available to localities across the nation.

In recent years, the Arlington government and County Board have come under fire from tree activists for a lack of commitment to maintaining and expanding existing tree canopy in the county.

Estimates suggest there are about 750,000 trees within Arlington’s 26 square miles. Depending on who is doing the analyzing, the tree-canopy ratio is either in the low-40-percent range or the low 30s.