With more than 18,000 ash trees lost to the emerald ash borer since 2013, protecting the tree canopy is a critical priority for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, which announced two important new developments for Minneapolis homeowners hard hit by assessments for condemned ash tree removals. MPRB commissioners voted to pause contracted tree removal on private properties to help affected homeowners qualify for a recently announced $8 million U.S. Forest Service grant. At the same time, hundreds of qualifying homeowners in the Camden, Near North, Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods will have their existing bills settled thanks to a generous $500,000 grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Fund of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. Both efforts will be aimed at offering relief to properties labeled as disadvantaged communities by the White House Council on Environmental Quality Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation provided support to the effort in guiding the most effective use of the contributed funds and expects additional support from other sources to offer more relief to homeowners struggling with the expense of losing ash trees. “Leveraging the full power of public funding and philanthropy is critical to protecting our parks as well as the communities that depend on them,” says MPF Executive Director Tom Evers. “The more stakeholders we can bring to the table, the more likely we are to find smart solutions. We’re very grateful for the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation’s innovative approach to helping Minneapolis homeowners.”
Image courtesy of MPRB.