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Norwalk plants trees on Wilton Avenue

Director of Transportation, Mobility, and Parking James Travers, left, helps throw some ceremonial dirt onto a newly planted tree, Wednesday on Wilton Avenue. (Harold F. Cobin)

Eddie Zapata with a newly planted tree, Wednesday on Wilton Avenue. (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — Workers spruced up Wilton Avenue by planting 18 trees Wednesday, all funded by a grant obtained by the Norwalk Health Department.

The goal isn’t just to plant trees but to create community because people are more likely to walk down tree-lined streets, Director of Transportation, Mobility, and Parking James Travers said. More walkers inspire drivers to slow down.

“I’m already liking it,” said a young resident of the neighborhood, Eddie Zapata. 

Among the 18 trees planted on the eastern side of Wilton Avenue, between Catherine Street and Horton Street, are three versions of six varieties, including American Elms, Pin Oaks, Sweetgums and Red Maples, according to Travers.

“While we will have someone come by and water the trees periodically, it would be extremely helpful if you could assist in watering the tree in front of your home,” Travers said in a letter to residents.

A Gator bag. They’ll be put around the new Wilton Avenue trees, so that residents can fill them with water, James Travers said. (Amazon)

Travers and Assistant Director for Transportation Services Garrett Bolella were hired in January. According to Travers, the pair took a tour in February and stopped their car in the middle of Wilton Avenue, asking what was going on.

“We knew that we wanted to do this all along,” Travers said.

The first grant application wasn’t successful, but TMP worked with the Health Department to write the second grant and not only was the grant awarded, but Norwalk was invited to apply again next year, according to Travers.

It’s funding for environmental changes that encourage physical activity, Assistant Director of Health for Community Health Theresa Argondezzi said.

Benefits of trees

Newly planted trees, Wednesday on Wilton Avenue. (Harold F. Cobin)

“We encourage everybody to walk in the city, but a lot of times it has to do with the environment they’re walking in – do they feel safe, is it a pleasant place to walk? So we think that adding street trees will encourage more people to get out, walk around their community, feel safer and have a more pleasant community to walk in as well,” she said. “So in addition to showing people where to walk and encourage them to walk we want to make sure that the streets are pleasant and safe for them to walk on.”

Travers said next year’s request will be “more aggressive” and seek to “finish the street” with low growing trees on the other side, the goal being to create a canopy.

“These trees are being planted as part of an effort to increase the tree canopy in Norwalk,” Travers said in the letter to residents. “There is a growing need to increase the green cover, especially near our homes. The first step to contributing to sustainable living is to give something back to the environment. Planting more trees around our homes will improve the air quality by purifying the air. We all know that trees are vitally important and the City is committed to increasing the number of trees that we plant.”

Almstead Tree Co. workers plant a tree, Wednesday on Wilton Avenue. (Harold F. Cobin)

A tree waits for installation, Wednesday on Wilton Avenue. (Harold F. Cobin)

 

4 comments

Priscilla Feral September 30, 2021 at 10:38 am

What an upbeat, productive effort that educates residents about trees beautifying public areas while increasing a sense of security and safety.

Increasing Norwalk’s tree canopy also reduces the possibility of flooding since aside from filtering out and storing carbon dioxide from the air, trees absorb rain water. Helping us tackle the climate crisis means informing others so they’re aware about how they can help, and why it’s important to plant and protect more trees.

Priscilla Feral
Democrat for Commissioner of the Sixth Taxing District

Christine M September 30, 2021 at 2:06 pm

So that’s what those markers were! That will be nice. Years ago, Wilton Ave had a lot more trees, which were eventually removed. This will make it look so nice and eventually provide some much-needed shade on the eastern side, which gets baked in the sun.

Audrey Cozzarin September 30, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Thank you, God, for this kind of restorative measure in Norwalk! Terrific work by Jim Travers and all who turned out to plant, and to CC members Shanahan and Livingston for highlighting the tree issues we have here, moving towards a strengthened tree ordinance. Mother Earth must be happy with every tree planted.

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