ARIZONA NEWS

Tempe launching programs to benefit neighborhoods vulnerable to climate change

Mar 14, 2024, 4:05 AM | Updated: 5:57 am

Hands on sapling....

The Tempe City Council recently approved funding for programs that will benefit neighborhoods most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. (City of Tempe Photo)

(City of Tempe Photo)

PHOENIX — The Tempe City Council recently approved funding for programs that will benefit neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The project, Growing Together: A Tree Stewardship and Workforce Development Program, was approved with federal and state funds to expand tree canopy, establish two public food forests and expand workforce development.

“The goal of this project is to promote community wealth-building, equitable urban cooling and resilience to extreme heat,” Mayor Corey Woods said in a press release last week.

“It’s driven by Tempe’s previous research on heat vulnerability and recent investments in local food, green storm water infrastructure , urban forestry and neighborhood heat resilience.”

Here’s which parts of Tempe will benefit most from the program, and why

Over the next three years, the project will launch three programs using $1.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

The project will focus on the Alegre, Victory Acres, University Heights and Escalante neighborhoods and the town of Guadalupe.

The communities were chosen because each were in a Justice40 Zone, a pre-identified, disadvantaged area overburdened by underinvestment and pollution.

From trees and food to schools and the community

Through the community tree steward program, people can help oversee the development and growth of the trees in the chosen neighborhoods while also building professional skills.

A $40,000 grant will go toward scholarships and professional training for those participating in the steward program.

There will also be the school greening and grounds maintenance program that will work with administration officials to plant trees on school campuses. For this project, the city plans to hire and train specialists and technicians who will help plant and maintain trees.

The third program will see the development of two public food forests established by community members and organizations. It will work to incorporate edible plants while using green storm water infrastructure to capture rainwater.

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Tempe launching programs to benefit neighborhoods vulnerable to climate change