Last Friday, Greenpoint took a small step in the direction of better living up to its name.
With one tree planted out of a proposed 500, the “Greening Greenpoint” project is well on its way to transforming our corner of Brooklyn into the verdant oasis we always knew it could be.
Neighbors, local officials, and students from the nearby St. Stanislaus Catholic Academy looked on during a tree-planting ceremony that took place Nov. 6 near 189 Driggs Avenue. There, a Hackberry tree was planted: a native shade tree that’s popular with the birds. Thanks to the students, the block then received over 300 new daffodil bulbs.
Greening Greenpoint is one of the cleanup projects funded by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF). The GCEF is a $19.5 million grant program managed by the New York State Office of the Attorney General and Department of Environmental Conservation that’s using money from the ExxonMobil oil spill settlement to do good for the local environment.
Over the course of the next three years, the project will bring 500 new trees to our neighborhood, as well as work to improve the health of existing trees.
“Trees and green spaces are an invaluable part of every neighborhood,” said Council Member Steven Levin in a statement. “This program will bring hundreds of new trees to Greenpoint and improve the health of existing neighborhood trees by offering residents a chance to learn the ins and outs of proper tree care. I look forward to Greenpoint getting a little greener over the next three years.”
Managed by the New York Tree Trust, the project has a strong community involvement and educational component. It’s also providing an avenue for residents and business owners to request tree planting, tree bed enlargement, and tree guard installation.
“This project is very unique because we’re really focusing on community input and participation,” said project coordinator Sophie Plitt. “We’ll be investing a lot of resources in training and equipping Greenpointers to become life-long stewards of our valuable neighborhood trees.”
If you’re interested in having a say in what gets done around here, the GCEF sets its priorities according to a local vote. It’s currently considering a spate of new grant proposals that it received in response to its April 2015 “Request for Proposals.” Community members will have an opportunity to make their preferences known on Thursday, Nov. 19 and Saturday, Nov. 21.