|August 02, 2013
—With the recent burst of construction projects in the Downtown core and the beginning of a new era of construction in the Overlake District, Redmond stands poised to launch a new investment in its urban tree canopy. Three major projects will add substantially to the tree canopy in Downtown. The landscaping for the Redmond Central Connector, a trail currently under construction along the former BNSF rail line, will include 320 trees and numerous shrubs and plants in this new open space through the center of the city. The upcoming Cleveland Streetscape improvements will provide a unique approach to street trees. Instead of single trees evenly spaced, the project will provide planting beds that cluster trees, shrubs and grasses together, fronted by playful, lighted custom-designed benches that create a great spot to sit and catch up with a friend or finish a cup of coffee.
And finally, the master planning of the Downtown Park will provide the opportunity to create an urban oasis that meets the needs and desires of the community. The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on Park Master Plan design concepts in the fall of this year. “We want to provide the tree canopy that our population has come to expect,” said Craig Larsen, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Redmond. He adds, “While the residential population is growing in Downtown, we want to ensure we are making contributions to our citizen’s quality of life. This will include a new downtown park along with regional trails and open spaces which promote livability, and balance the benefits of an urban city with the comfort of a small town community.”
Redmond’s current tree canopy includes more than 7,000 street trees along major arterials and in downtown, more than 1,000 acres of forested park land, an uncounted number of trees in private developments with protected Native Growth Protection Areas, as well as many other trees in neighborhoods and on private property. In addition to the shade and beauty trees provide for our streets and neighborhoods, they are important environmentally in helping to reduce storm water runoff, improving water quality, reducing erosion, improving air quality and providing habitat for bees, birds, and other wildlife. Recycling of materials and plant matter contributes to the natural habitat and supports a healthier ecosystem.
Several initiatives in the community combine with City efforts to encourage and improve the health and density the tree canopy. Redmond’s Green Redmond Partnership, for example, is collaboration between the City and Forterra, a conservation and community building organization in the Northwest. The Green Redmond Partnership was established in 2008 to address the needs of Redmond’s forested park land by removing non-native, invasive plants and planting new trees and shrubs where needed. This program has planted more than 5,000 native trees and shrubs over the last 5 years throughout Redmond’s forested parks. Teresa Kluver, who manages the program, said, “The Green Redmond Partnership is working toward bringing over 1,000 acres of forested park land into active management, creating healthier ecosystems through progressive restoration practices.”
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