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Huning Highlands Street Tree Project

Neighbors Pay it Forward - with the Street Tree Project

caption:Huning Highlands Historic District NAFunding

At the request of the Huning Highlands Historic District Neighborhood Association, City Councilor Isaac Benton and State Representative Rick Miera provided funding for a street tree project:

  • Councilor Benton provided $25,000
  • Representative Miera provided $25,000

Individual property owners at locations where trees are planted sign an agreement with the City accepting responsibility for water, care and maintenance of the trees.

Re-Tree Huning Highlands

David Day, an Urban Designer, Intern Architect, and resident of Huning Highlands Historic District has crafted a plan to re-tree the neighborhood.  Over the last year, he and many neighbors mapped every street tree, noting its placement, size, health, and species.  This resulted in a plan showing where trees are needed, what kind of trees, and when we need to plant them.

From November through February, prime time for planting new trees, neighborhood volunteers will prepare parkways to get ready for 180 to 200 new trees. City Forester Joran Viers will oversee a Landscape Contractor who will buy trees and plant them.

Thank you

  • David Day and the residents of Huning Highland Historic District for spearheading this project and adopting the 180-200 new trees.
  • Joran Viers for his assistance in overseeing the planing of the new trees.
  • Representative Miera for contributing the matching funds.

AP News article

The Tree Project—A Historical Perspective

by David Day

I. Origins

It made both national and local news reports in 2012 that the urban tree canopy in our city is suffering. We have lost over 20% of our trees which should be of great concern to every citizen, neighborhood, and property owner. Each street or yard tree improves property values, lowers utility bills, increases health, and contributes to the beautification of our district and city.

David Day initiated the project in 2010 when he and Fernando Delgado purchased a home in the neighborhood.  The deteriorated condition of our neighborhood tree canopy (trees in the public parkway strip between sidewalk and curb) caused great concern.  A tree canopy is an essential part of any neighborhood, but especially for a historic district such as Huning Highlands.  David, an Urban Designer and Intern Architect (Terra Designs LLC) and a group of neighbors are producing an urban design Landscape Plan to restore our aging tree canopy.

II. Existing Conditions

Step 1 focused on mapping all existing street trees in the entire Neighborhood Association boundary (48 blocks and 174 acres! ).  Over the course of a year, many neighborhood volunteers helped map each and every tree, noting its placement, size, health, and species.  The information was noted on maps and spreadsheets which, after compiling, was mapped on a comprehensive Site Plan of the neighborhood.

III. Plan

Step 2 updated the Site Plan to show where new trees will be planted.  The Landscape design provides each street with 1 tree species along the entire length of the street in order to yield a consistent look and effective overhead shade canopy. Each street will receive a different tree species for visual diversity and biodiversity - critical for the health of trees, insects, and environment.  The North-South axis streets will receive shade trees, and the East-West axis streets will receive flowering and more ornamental trees.

The Site Plan shows phases of work, which areas will receive trees with each funding event.

The Site Plan, database, and tree species list will be compiled into a report.  This will allow us to present a unified and holistic vision which will be used to market ourselves and secure additional funding in the future. The Report will also lay out, explicitly and consistently, subsequent phases of work.   The Report will also list all volunteers, specialists, and donors to the project.

IV. Implementation

Planting strips in areas to receive the new trees will be prepared by a team of volunteers.  Residents receiving the trees will deep water the trees (1x/month in winter, 1x/week in summer) to ensure success.  City Forester Joran Viers will manage the project, overseeing a Landscape Contractor who will buy trees, dig the holes, and place the trees.

V. Funding

  • $4000: Bernalillo County Neighborhood Grant.  The grant was secured and administered by neighbors Greg Bloom and Elaine McGivern.  Take a walk along Lead and Coal to see the beautiful trees added to the street improvements, some of which are a result of this grant.  Bernadette Miera was the County Manager of the project.
  • $125,000 from Councilor Benton's district set-asides for irrigation and tree planting in bulb-outs along Lead and Coal between Broadway and I-25.
  • Councilor Benton and State Representative (District 11) Rick Miera secured funding for Huning Highlands in 2014 to the tune of $ 50,000. $25,000 comes from Councilor Benton's 'set-aside' monies available to each council district for improvements, and $25,000 comes from Representative Miera.  This will provide approximately 180 to 200 trees for the core area of Huning Highlands.
  • Rebates:  Electrical and Water Company rebates for residents who plant the trees are being researched.

VI. Benefits

  • Property Value: A 10 to 20% increase in property value for 'curb appeal and for more liveable yard, street.
  • Civic Pride: Restoring the historic shade tree canopy will improve the Huning Highlands Historic District visually, financially, and aesthetically.  Street trees are one of the most important components of any neighborhood, and especially for a historic district.
  • Energy: Tree canopy shade lowers heat island effect in neighborhood - shading yards, sidewalks and streets which otherwise would collect heat and radiate it back at night, a problem in summer.  Yield lower electric bills due to cooling effect.  Lowers pollution by reducing coal-generated electrical plant outputs.
  • Water: 503 gallons/year of storm water will be intercepted by each tree, and evaporation will help cool the neighborhood.
  • Air: Air quality greatly improved as trees absorb pollutants (ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, dust, ash, smoke).  Will absorb 364 lbs. / year of carbon dioxide.  Oxygen is given off by trees.