Brookhaven residents can soon qualify for a tree as part of new partnership between the city and Trees Atlanta to increase the local canopy and provide public shade in neighborhoods.
The City Council voted Oct. 22 to award a contract up to $10,000 to nonprofit Trees Atlanta to provide services for the Brookhaven Front Yard Tree Program. The contract pays for the trees and to have Trees Atlanta volunteers plant the trees and work with homeowners on how best to care for them.
“The goal for this program is to add future shade trees … to enhance the tree canopy throughout Brookhaven and improve the livability and health of your citizens,” Mike Vinciquerra from Trees Atlanta told the council during its work session before the regular council meeting meeting.
Trees Atlanta is promising 40 front yard trees to Brookhaven with one tree per home. Residents will be able to sign up for the program on the Trees Atlanta website beginning Nov. 1. A $25 application fee is required. Plantings are set to begin in February and wrap up by April.
The money to pay for the Front Yard Tree Program is coming from the city’s Tree Fund. Developers, builders, contractors, homeowners and others who illegally cut down trees or have a permit to cut trees down must pay into the Tree Fund.
Councilmember John Park asked about planting trees in backyards. Vinciquerra said there are neighborhoods in Atlanta where they do this, but the main reason to plant in the front yard is to provide shade to those walking on sidewalks as a public benefit.
Trees Atlanta is making available five varieties of oak trees for the program. The trees will stand 6 to 8 feet tall when planted, Vinciquerra said, and are expected to grow significantly over three years.
Once homeowners sign up to participate in the Front Yard Tree Program and pay the $25 fee, they will be contacted by a Trees Atlanta volunteer to set up a time for visit to pick the best site to plant the tree. If the yard is determined not to be a suitable for a shade tree, the $25 fee will be refunded.
Trees Atlanta is responsible for delivering and planting the trees. Planting is expected to begin in February and wrap up by April. The volunteers will also go over with homeowners how to care for the tree.
Three other cities currently participate in the Front Yard Tree Program: Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Chamblee.