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City of Aurora receives $5 million grant

City of Aurora receives $5 million grant to invest in urban canopy and community
Posted on 09/15/2023
USDA and city officials planting a tree

The city of Aurora has been granted $5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to support the city’s urban forest growth and maintenance, focusing on traditionally underserved neighborhoods with large populations of immigrants and refugees.

The funding will support Reinvesting in Aurora’s Urban Canopy for Social Equity and Climate Resilience, a joint project between the city of Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department and the Office of International and Immigrant Affairs.

As the most diverse city in Colorado, Aurora has large communities of immigrants and refugees, and many of these communities reside in areas with the oldest trees and many open planting spaces. By focusing the program in these areas, the city of Aurora will promote equity, enhance the urban forest, improve public health and foster environmental resilience.

Parks, Recreation and Open Space will focus on extending the lifespan of mature trees and increasing community well-being through necessary maintenance and pruning while also expanding the urban canopy through planting of diverse tree species in disadvantaged areas. Another key component of the project will be connecting residents with their urban forest and each other through community outreach and engagement, including multilingual communications and tree-planting events led by the Office of International and Immigrant Affairs.

“We are committed to connecting all our residents to their urban forest and want to ensure that we are providing accessible services and education to all our underserved neighborhoods who have limited access to green spaces, parks and trees,” said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman. “I look forward to seeing the benefits a thriving urban forest will have on our community now and well into the future.”

The project will further support community development through continued partnership with Bridge House and TreeForce. Bridge House’s Ready to Work program assists people experiencing homelessness in transitioning to jobs and housing, and participants work alongside city staff for street tree maintenance. TreeForce aids people with criminal backgrounds or chronic unemployment in acquiring tree care skills for future employment opportunities.

Reinvesting in Aurora’s Urban Canopy for Social Equity and Climate Resilience will be an ongoing project through 2028.

The grant received by the city of Aurora is part of a $1.5 billion investment in the USDA Forest Service’s nationwide Urban and Community Forestry Program, made possible through the Inflation Reduction Act.

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