About 50 volunteers gathered Friday at Millvale Riverfront Park to plant a variety of trees, but one tulip poplar attracted everyone's attention.
The tulip poplar at the park entrance was the ceremonial 15,000th tree provided for the region by TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, a program coordinated by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy that involves community groups, nonprofits and government agencies in a five-year goal to plant 20,000 trees by next year throughout the Pittsburgh region.
The trees planted Friday in the Millvale park along the Allegheny River's north shore were paid for through a grant from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.
"It's fantastic and we can't appreciate enough what the [the conservancy] is doing for us," said Millvale Councilman Brian Wolovich. "It's been a great process. They have professional foresters on staff, and they chose the right species of trees raised right here in Pittsburgh, across from our park."
Mr. Wolovich worked with Jeffrey Bergman, director of TreeVitalize, to apply for the PennVest grant and organize the planting.
Mr. Bergman had the task of finding communities whose residents have low to moderate incomes and whose officials understand stormwater and flooding issues that affect their community.
"We were looking to do an impactful project," Mr. Bergman said. "And Millvale was ready. It's a $700,000 grant through PennVest all concentrated in 0.62 square miles of Millvale."
PennVest is responsible for the grant to plant 850 trees in Millvale. It is no surprise that the 15,000th tree was a tulip poplar -- Mr. Bergman's favorite.
Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the conservancy, believes trees are an important part of Millvale's revitalization.
"A good city has a walkable community," Mr. Saunders said.
"Shade trees and street trees are crucial to that -- good for air quality, storm management but, most of all, they are beautiful."
Millvale Mayor Vincent Cinski said he was proud his borough was selected for the ceremonial planting of the 15,000th tree.
"We had a lot of adversity the last few years and we have been so blessed, blessed with all these volunteers," the mayor said.
"Next spring, we will work the town and finish the project," Mr. Wolovich said.
The plan is to plant the rest of the trees along the streets and in residents' yards.
Trees already have been planted at the Grant Avenue Pocket Park and at the Millvale Community Library.
Roxanne Tuinstra, freelance writer: email@example.com. First Published November 15, 2012 10:00 AM