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City of Lexington announces winners of first round of Lex Grow Tree grants

Lexington officials say the benefits of the city's urban forest amount are many, varied and valuable.
Lexington officials say the benefits of the city's urban forest amount are many, varied and valuable.

The City of Lexington has awarded a total of nearly $500,000 to nine homeowners associations and other groups to plant trees and launch tree education programs. It’s the first round of grants from the Lex Grow Trees program. Heather Wilson, the city’s senior program manager for urban and community forestry, said trees have several measurable benefits, including absorbing thousands of gallons of storm and rainwater.

“What that does is, one, it helps limit the amount of high-water areas that we have in Lexington, but it also really helps to not overpower our sanitary sewer and our water systems. They also cool our air. They kind of act like nature's air conditioners.”

Wilson said trees also remove carbon from the atmosphere and filter pollutants. She said Lex Grow Trees began two years ago, when the city council set aside $1.5 million dollars.

“Since that time, we have been working to figure out the most equitable way to spend this money, to get it into the hands of the areas of Lexington that are in most of need of increased tree canopy for all of the environmental benefits of tree canopy.”

Wilson said the next round of grant applications will be announced this fall. The city of Lexington is a WEKU sponsor.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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