The City of Jersey City received $2.8 million in federal and state grants for tree plantings, seasonal hires, and more, officials said today.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“This is an important investment in the future of our city. We will use the grant funding to help pay for over 160 trees and other green infrastructure improvements along Martin Luther King Drive as part of our ongoing work with community partners to help revitalize Jackson Hill into the thriving commercial corridor it once was,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“From improving public health to new economic opportunities, increasing tree cover in urban areas and equitable access to green spaces provides countless benefits for residents, businesses, and the community overall.”
These efforts include Youth Tree Ambassador Programs for community building, workforce development, expanding the Forestry team to sustain and grow the city’s tree canopy, and over 160 tree plantings for beautification, stormwater absorption, and improving public health.
The city is prioritizing neighborhoods where additional trees will help with flood mitigation, lower energy costs, improve air quality, and reduce heat-related health concerns.
Allocating a $2 million grant awarded to Jersey City’s Divisions of Sustainability and Forestry by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Urban and Community Forestry program, the MLK Drive Green Corridor and Outreach Project will focus specifically on the Jackson Hill corridor along Martin Luther King Drive.
“This USDA Urban and Community Forestry grant award is a really exciting opportunity to build momentum for tree canopy restoration and a green infrastructure conservancy initiative for Jersey City that will improve the quality of life here,” noted Sustainable JC Founder and Chair Debra Italiano.
“SJC is pleased to partner on this grant to bring environmental education and community programming that will make Jersey City cleaner, greener, more sustainable, and resilient,”
Additionally, a grant of over $800,000 from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Water Quality and Restoration Program will help fund green infrastructure improvements on MLK Drive, including the installation of rain gardens and bioswales.
A new equitable tree planting strategy designed for long-term resiliency planning will address mitigating stormwater flooding and urban heat island effects.
The grant money will also establish different programs to maintain and expand the City’s urban forestry efforts hire and train seasonable workers for the forestry team, including a junior forester and tree maintenance staff, and the creation of a paidYouth Tree Ambassador Programs and Workforce Development Workshops.
“A key part of our urban forestry and green infrastructure initiatives is partnering with the community to help build resilient neighborhoods throughout our great city,” said Department of Infrastructure Director Barkha Patel.
“With this grant, we can strengthen that partnership and offer residents meaningful ways to support this work through planting trees, increasing awareness, and amplifying the voices of communities experiencing the negative impacts of climate change.”
The city is currently on track to plant over 350 trees this year and anyone interested in volunteering for Jersey City’s tree planting efforts can contact the Jersey City Department of Infrastructure at 201-547-4727.