The City’s “Open Space Fund,” now topping $1.1 million, will grow and preserve Greenville’s tree canopy.
City Council received an update on the fund, which has grown rapidly since the Landscape and Tree Preservation Ordinance was established in 2021. The regulations provided property owners with the option of replacing trees as they are removed or paying a fee to the fund.
At its Aug. 28 meeting, City Council accepted a staff report recommending the following priorities for the Open Space Fund:
- Actively find and purchase land within the city limits where trees can be planted
- Fund landscaping and trees at affordable housing projects, and
- Expand planting on private land
A large portion of Greenville’s tree canopy dates to the 1930s. “Council tasked us with regrowing the city's tree canopy without impacting development," said Edward Kinney, Principal Landscape Architect for the City of Greenville. "This was done by increasing the number of required trees within each development, and establishing a fee-in-lieu-of in order to fund new trees and open space."
Trees cool environments, improve air quality, and mitigate stormwater runoff. The planting of new trees and the preservation of open space, is a priority. “We’re actively looking for land to purchase,” said Greenville City Manager Shannon Lavrin, “We’re also asking neighborhoods for their help identifying areas that are considered ‘heat islands,’ so that we can reduce utility costs and improve quality of life.”