State Designates Haverhill and Lawrence as ‘Cooling Corridors,’ Eligible for Tree Plantings

Gov. Maura Healey and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper joined state and local officials and kids from youth organizations and programs in the City of Malden to help the Department of Conservation and Recreation plant 23 trees around Newman Park. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill and Lawrence are among 26 designated Gateway Cities to be named “Cooling Corridors” with expanded state-supported tree planting.

Gov. Maura T. Healey named the communities during an Arbor Day celebration in Chicopee. The state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’s new Cooling Corridors program support communities, nonprofits and other organizations with tree-planting initiatives. The program specifically targets walking routes in areas that suffer from extreme heat, such as urban heat islands and hotspots, within environmental justice neighborhoods. Highest priority projects are those that “help reduce local heat sinks, facilitate urban heat mitigation and increase the regional tree canopy.”

“There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Week and Arbor Day than to get out in the community and plant a tree,” said Healey. “Our Greening the Gateway Cities Program and the new Cooling Corridors initiative help bring down the temperatures in urban areas, saving residents energy costs, increasing property values, and creating good-paying local jobs.”

The program began in Chelsea, Holyoke and Fall River and has since expanded into 23 of the original 26 gateway cities. The Greening the Gateway Cities Program plants trees within gateway cities that generally have lower tree canopy, older housing and larger renter populations.

Trees are planted by the Bureau of Forestry and Urban & Community Forestry crews hired from their local communities. The program plants trees ranging from six feet to 10 feet in height with a goal of covering 5% of the target neighborhoods in new tree canopy cover. Trees are planted from April to June in the spring, and from September to November in the fall, weather permitting.

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