Standing on a tree stump off Dean Parkway, mayoral candidate Mark Andrew yesterday pledged a “Beautiful Boulevards” program to double the number of city trees planted by the park board to 10,000 a year if he is elected.
He said Minneapolis is losing trees faster than the city is replacing them – last month’s storm knocked down 3,000 more - and called for a larger “urban canopy.”
The former Hennepin County commissioner said he would add $500,000 for tree-planting from the city’s general fund to leverage financial support from private businesses and other entities, though he did not offer specifics on how he would come up with the money.
Andrew said he would work with the business and philanthropic community to add a 50 percent match to that program, and also expand an existing initiative that offers residents inexpensive trees to plant on their own property. Additionally, he said that “Beautiful Boulevards” would work with University of Minnesota to use technology that accelerates the growth of seedlings into large trees.
"We will be planting more trees than we are losing every year and that will be setting us on the right course for the future of the city," said Andrew.
Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Scott Vreeland said that Minneapolis will also lose another 30,000 trees with the onslaught of invasive beetles known as emerald ash borer.
Replacing all these trees “is a massive thing – it’s more than the park board can do,” he said.