By Kathy Chouteau
Groundwork Richmond is poised to launch two significant projects that will vastly expand Richmond’s green canopy with the Wellness Trail Project and the Urban Greening Project. With both projects combined, and equipped with a $900,000 grant from the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) for the latter project, the organization will collaborate with local entities to plant more than 700 new trees in Richmond.
The first project currently underway is the Wellness Trail Project, which kicked off in late April and will see Groundwork Richmond plant 148 new trees on the trail along Marina Way & 16th St., according to Groundwork’s Co-Executive Director Megan Lamb (who works alongside Co-Executive Director Lorena Castillo). The collaborative project should wrap up by spring of 2022 and “aims to enhance access to urban green spaces through the creation of new, safe bike and pedestrian trails connecting downtown Richmond/BART station to the Richmond shoreline,” said Lamb.
For the Urban Greening Project, which will begin in early 2022 and focus on the Richmond Parkway, Groundwork Richmond received $900,000 in funding from the CNRA—its largest-ever grant as a solo applicant—and will plant 566 trees.
Groundwork Richmond’s Urban Greening Project was one of 25 across the state receiving $28.5 million in overall funding from the CNRA for projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provide numerous benefits such as expanding access to parks and green spaces in underserved areas.
According to Lamb, the overall goal of the Urban Greening Project is to “buffer residential areas from pollution; increase tree canopy in under-planted neighborhoods; improve pedestrian and bike paths to facilitate non-vehicular traffic; reduce traffic speeds and create safer planted median buffers to prevent or reduce damage from potential traffic collisions; and engage youth in skill building and job training.”
Groundwork will collaborate on this project with Oakland-based Hyphae Design Labs and anticipates developing partnerships with local businesses and organizations interested in volunteering or working together through various phases of the project, per Lamb.
“All trees we plant are researched and vetted to ensure they are the best for the soil and geographic region. Some of those include Coast Live Oak, Jacaranda, Red Maple and Frontier Elm,” said Lamb about the trees being planted for both projects.
Lamb said that Groundwork Richmond is “beyond excited to be a part of the constant urban greening initiatives in Richmond and greatly appreciates our collaborative partners: The Watershed Project, Rich City Rides, NPS, Trust for Public Land, Hyphae Design Labs and so many others.”
For more info about either project, including how to get involved, visit Groundwork Richmond’s website at www.groundworkrichmond.org.