Hartford awarded federal grant to increase tree coverage to combat urban heat island climate effect
The city of Hartford received a $6 million federal grant to promote sustainability in urban areas.
The grant is funded through the nationwide Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to meet federal climate change goals and bolster energy security.
In an announcement Tuesday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city plans to utilize the grant by following four key points.
The first goal is to plant and support the growth of new trees. Having the ability to plant trees in public and private spaces makes progress towards Hartford’s sustainability goal of 35% tree cover by the year 2070.
Planting new trees can also helps to clean the air and combat the urban heat island effect.
The urban heat island effect refers to urban areas that lack trees, causing city areas to be disproportionately heated in comparison to those areas outside the city. Hartford’s Director of Sustainability, Cecelia Drayton, said the effect has a profound impact on residents.
“Residents face extreme temperatures whether it’s summer or winter, just commuting to public transportation or moving throughout their life, attending an event, or even taking a walk,” Drayton said.
The second point commits resources to maintaining mature trees in the city through compost and tree trimming cycles.
And the third point focuses on removing trees that pose a hazard to the public. This may refer to dead or unhealthy trees.
The last point of the grant will be used to fund community education, outreach, and engagement.
Although exact details for spending have not been finalized, Bronin envisions the four points as being the framework for those discussions.
“We swung for the fences on the application. It was a much larger grant than most cities of our size,” Bronin said.