February 17, 2020 - The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department is inviting citizens to participate in the Citizen Match Tree Planting Program. The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Forestry Team is responsible for maintaining our publicly owned urban canopy, comprised of almost 50,000 street trees located along nearly 1300 miles of roadway and 20,000 trees found within our 87 parks.

Citizens interested in partnering with Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation to improve the livability of our neighborhoods can participate in the Citizen Match Tree Planting Program. With a $50 contribution, a citizen can have a tree planted within the Right-of-Way in front of their house. Further details and the application can be found by visiting fortwayneparks.org/street-trees or by calling 260-427-6400.

“Street trees can add interest, beauty, and value to a city's forestry landscape,” said Parks and Recreation Superintendent of Forestry Operations Derek Veit. “There's nothing quite like driving down any city's oldest thoroughfare lined with large, historic street trees. If selected carefully, street trees will bring urban beauty for decades and maybe centuries to come.”

Any tree that has been planted in the public right of way is a street tree. The public right of way's width varies from street to street, but it is generally defined as the area from the street side curb inward to a distance of approximately 8 feet. This area is used for sidewalks, utility lines, and street trees.

Street trees benefit our community in many ways. They define the character of our neighborhoods and add to the value of our properties. Street trees provide aesthetic, environmental, public health and socioeconomic benefits that help improve our quality of life.

The City of Fort Wayne’s urban canopy is recognized as a key element of the city’s overall infrastructure and trees are one of the few components of infrastructure that do not depreciate over time. In fact, street trees actually provide an increased benefit/value as time passes.

Our street trees provide millions of dollars of tangible benefits by their presence in the urban environment. Their shade and beauty contribute to the quality of life by softening the hard appearance of gray infrastructure. They provide significant increases in real estate values, create attractive settings for commercial businesses, and improve community neighborhood appeal. Trees decrease energy consumption by providing shade and acting as windbreaks. They reduce water treatment costs and impede soil erosion by slowing the runoff of stormwater. Trees also cool the air temperature, cleanse pollutants from the air, and produce oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. Trees are an integral component of the urban environment.

For more information about Fort Wayne Street Trees and the Citizen Match program, visit fortwayneparks.org/street-trees.