SIDNEY — The city of Sidney has been awarded a 2022 Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Urban Canopy Restoration Grant in the amount of $25,000. The grant will enable the city to purchase and plant trees in locations throughout Tawawa Park and Graceland Cemetery.
The ODNR grant guidelines allowed communities to apply for grants in increments of $2,500 up to a total of $25,000.00 per community. The amount each community requested required a cash match.
After consultation with staff, it was determined to attempt to apply for the grant maximum, as the city would then have $50,000 available for the purchase of trees. Mike Barhorst, who was mayor at the time the grant was announced, visited local businesses and civic organizations to solicit the cash match.
Those organizations that responded favorably to Barhorst’s plea for funds included Buckeye Ford, Cargill, Culver’s, Emerson Climate Technologies, Ferguson Construction, Kiwanis, KLINGER Thermoseal, Lochard Inc., Minster Bank, Mutual Federal, Rotary, S&S Hospitality Management and Wilson Health.
“Raising money for the match for the ODNR grant opportunity was one of the easiest fundraising tasks I’ve ever undertaken,” Barhorst stated. “Those I contacted readily understood the need to begin to replace trees that have been lost in recent years.”
“Ohio communities have faced a significant decrease in urban tree canopy from invasive insects and disease, extreme weather events, and development pressures,” Southwest Ohio District Urban Forester Wendi Van Buren said. “At the height of Ohio’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation, Ohio lost more than 10,000 acres of urban tree canopy each year, totaling an estimated $9.3 million net loss in benefits per year. Sidney alone lost more than 1,100 trees on city-owned land.”
“Funds supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service for this grant program are intended to address the critical need to restore and improve urban forests,” Van Buren continued. “The urban forest also helps reduce stormwater runoff and the impact of climate change, while building resiliency through tree planting in urban communities where trees are critical to human health.”
“To avoid such future catastrophic loss due to one disease or insect, a variety of trees have been selected to be planted,” City Arborist Brian Green said. “Certainly we thank the local businesses and organizations who helped us maximize the funds available through the grant.”
ODNR received more than 70 grant requests for grant funding this year. ODNR had enough funds available to provide funding to about one-third of the communities who applied for the grant opportunity.
In addition to Sidney, other communities receiving ODNR Urban Canopy Restoration Grants in the Southwest Ohio District include Mariemont, Springdale, Tipp City, Troy and Wyoming. Sidney officials expect the trees will be planted in early fall 2023.