McKINLEY PARK — McKinley Park is set to be a lot shadier — and perhaps healthier — thanks to a grants and programs that have planted dozens of trees in the area.
A group of neighbors has secured a grant from Openlands to plant over 20 trees in the area near Pershing and Hermitage avenues, the nonprofit conservation group said. That's on top of dozens of trees planted in the area in 2015, and about 20 more recently planted in McKinley Park, said Michael Dugan, tree planting manager for the group.
On Sept. 16, the group will return with its volunteers to plant along Pershing Avenue, he said. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up.
"It's neighbors meeting neighbors, getting Girl Scout troops, Boy Scout troops, to help. It's a great community event," Dugan said.
The tree planting volunteers will be lead by people who has completed Openlands' treekeepers course, Dugan said. A recent class held at McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd., resulted in 20 trees being planted around the park.
It's all part of Openlands' plan to improve the city's tree canopy. A recent study says only 17 percent of the city is covered by trees, and that improvements on that number can improve air quality and reduce temperatures. Openlands has planted 4,000 trees on public right-of-ways in four years, Dugan said.
"The city as a whole needs more trees," Dugan said. "We're experiencing the loss of lots and lots of trees."
There's numerous benefits of a robust tree canopy that go beyond improved air quality, Dugan said.
"Having trees, and lots of large trees, is important," Dugan said. "It's important for large rain events, they can reduce heating and cooling bills. And having a beautiful thing to look a is just as important as lowering your heating bill."