Saturday, April 26, 2014 marks a big day for trees in the University District. On that day a number of people will be gathering to map out a plan to plant 2000 trees in the district. That’s a lot of trees, which means that it’s going to take a concerted effort to pull it off. Thankfully groups such as Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, the Bailey Avenue Business Association, B Team Buffalo, ReTree WNY, St. Joseph University Parish, University at Buffalo, University District Block Club Coalition, University Heights Collaborative, University District Community Development Association, and the University Heights Tool Library are teaming up to ensure the success of the initiative. “These are the types of projects we hope to replicate throughout the district to bring forth unity in University,” said University District Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt.
First the group will map out where the missing trees are located (with the help of City of Buffalo Division of Parks and Recreation), before moving forward with a plan to replace the various tree canopies throughout the district. Ultimately the working group will rely on volunteers from the community to help. The public is invited to attend.
“It’s more than just planting trees,” said Darren Cotton of the University Heights Tool Library. “The project also has a variety of engagement goals that are intended to bring a large number of volunteers to the district, encourage a greater level of neighborhood connection and interaction, and beautify a district that often suffers the negative effects of neighbor anonymity and media stereotypes.”
“We’ll be planting a lot of trees, but it’s about more than that, it’s about getting to know your neighbor and working together to build a better community,” stated Mickey Vertino, President of the University Heights Collaborative.
“Planting of trees in our community removes blight and replaces it with God’s beauty,” noted Annie Cheatham, President of the University District Block Club Coalition, Inc.
President of the Bailey Avenue Business Association, Ibrahim Cissé added, “This is another step of coming together and reclaiming our neighborhood, instead of waiting for others to do it. Also, it aids in bringing the Heights and Bailey sides together as we are all one community. What goes on in one side impacts the other. We are the East Side; we are the University District.”
The planning phase of the tree-planting project begins on Saturday, April 26, 2014 (10 am to 2 pm) at the University Heights Tool Library, located at 5 West Northrup Place in Buffalo.