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Heat is coming: Phoenix City Council OKs $14M shade tree effort across city

photo of Phoenix City Council shade tree
A picturesque view envisaged by urban planners across the nation — the man-made natural landscape promoting a live, work and play mantra in all who traverse under the shade of an urban pathway. (Graphic Illustration: Terrance Thornton/DigitalFreePress)

Federal funds fuel $14M Phoenix City Council shade tree program

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

The heat is coming.

Phoenix City Council earlier this month approved two separate funding measures — both with dollars derived from the American Rescue Plan Act 2021 — to the tune of $14 million to plant shade trees and provide the landscaping of maintenance for those shady trees to be planted throughout the municipality.

Both items were plucked out of the blanket consent agenda approvals in early February by Phoenix Vice Mayor Deb Stark for further discussion on the million-dollar shade tree project.

“We here all the time — throughout out city — about the need for more trees in our community,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego during the public discussion. “We have seen research showing that in our corridors when we plant trees it can make as much as a 10 degree difference in terms of summer degree temperature.”

The first item, which comes with a price tag of $6 million [Page 61] — awarded to Canterbury Enterprises, Inc., dba Desert Tree Farm; Treeland Nurseries, Inc.; and Whitfill Nursery — will pay for various tree species and sizes as needed for the Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, records show.

The second approval, which comes to a total price of $8 million [Page 63] — awarded to Dusty Landscaping LLC and West Coast Arborists, Inc. — to provide landscaping services for planting and maintaining trees throughout the municipality guidance at the Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, records show.

Phoenix city leaders say each contract awarded is the result of competitive request for proposal process whereas the most cost-effective proposals were selected by city officials.

All funds for both million-dollar contracts are derived wholly from the American Rescue Plan Act 2021, city officials say.

“I think this is a great partnership with the federal government,” Mayor Gallego said moments before unanmsous approval from her colleages atop the Phoenix dais. “And, I appreciate them working with us to move this forward.”

Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring lauded the effort.

“I am a fan of the program … this is also about beautification,” he said. “Having those trees out there definitely make a difference in how the city is perceived, frankly. This is the same program as last time, there were a lot of trees that were city owned that we just let die.”

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