Community Development Department, City of Ridgeland : Promoting Urban Forestry in Ridgeland - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Community Development Department, City of Ridgeland : Promoting Urban Forestry in Ridgeland

Name:

Community Development Department, City of Ridgeland : Promoting Urban Forestry in Ridgeland

Project Description:

The project included the creation and administration of a Tree Ordinance and complimentary activities with the Mississippi Urban Forest Council.  The purpose of the Tree Ordinance is to prevent the unwarranted clear cutting of urban forest.  The goal of the Ordinance is to protect through preservation, to promote the establishment of, and to maintain a 40% urban tree canopy cover in the City of Ridgeland.  The Ordinance applies to trees on public and private property in commercial, industrial, and residential zoning districts within the City of Ridgeland.

The Community Development Department of the City of Ridgeland create the Tree Ordinance and it was adopted by unanimous vote of the Board of Aldermen in May, 2006.  In addition, a citizen-based committee of the City reviewed the Ordinance and publicly expressed support of it on behalf of the citizens of Ridgeland.

The Department administers the Ordinance, working with property owners to protect trees and mitigate when tree removal is deemed necessary.  A permit is required when a property owner intends to clear protected trees.

In order to promote urban forestry and to help educate citizens about urban forestry, the Community Development Department worked with Mississippi Urban Forest Council to obtain a grant for Ridgeland High School to conduct a tree planting project.  This project was then publicized in a city magazine and on the city's website.

The Department also assisted with the design of a tree planting project along Harbor Drive in Ridgeland.  The area has been declared an urban forest by the Mississippi Urban Forest Council  It is being promoted to other local governments through the Mississippi Municipal Leagues' magazine.

The City of Ridgeland's Mayor Gene McGee was awarded a Green City/Green Mayor award in 2007 by the Mississippi Urban Forest Council for his and the City's efforts in promoting urban forestry.  The Mayor has been active in volunteer activities such as serving as President of the Mississippi Urban Forest Council and urban forestry activities of the City of Ridgeland.  He works with all departments of the City of Ridgeland to preserve trees where possible on public property.

The City works to promote tree preservation and planting through the activities of the Community Development Department.  While working with developers and property owners in administering the Tree Ordinance, the Department seeks creative was to preserve trees, to mitigate for any loss of tress and to educate about the importance of urban forestry.

Type of Project (Air, Land, Water, waste or energy efficiency):

Air, Land, Water and Energy Efficiency

Name of Group: 

Community Development Department, City of Ridgeland

Number of Persons in Group:

11

List the Goals of the Group Project:

To promote urban forestry in Ridgeland, to increase tree planting activities, to educate the public about tree preservation and tree planting, to promote these activities among citizens, businesses and other local governments.

What are the benefits of your Project:

Trees enhance the quality of life in Ridgeland.  They beautify a community, its streets, neighborhoods and commercial areas.  Trees reduce energy costs of buildings, increase property values, absorb pollution, attract business and tourism, improve waste quality, provide wildlife habitat, enhance our health and reduce stress.

What have you learned from your Project:

Aside from the obvious benefits of urban forestry, the City of Ridgeland learned that the commitment to urban forestry enhances economic development potential.  Citizens and visitors take more pride in the environment, and business leaders have capitalized on this benefit by making improvements to private property adjacent to urban forestry projects.

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