September 25, 2020

SLC Mayor Mendenhall's "ReTree SLC" Speech

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SLC Mayor Mendenhall's "ReTree SLC" Speech KUTV

Thank you all for joining us today. As you know, because you thoroughly covered it... and you lived it, Salt Lake City’s urban forest was hit hard by the hurricane-force windstorm on September 8. 

We estimate that more than 1,500 trees were lost in our public spaces, and that doesn’t include the thousands of trees on private property that were toppled.

In addition to the devastating property damage, and some injuries that were reported, we’ve all been saddened at the heartbreaking sight of 100-foot tall trees lying on their sides. 

Our westside lost more than 100 Modesto Ash trees from neighborhood parkstrips, which account for the majority of shade in those neighborhoods. 

At the City Cemetery, we lost more than 250 trees, dozens of which were 80-foot tall Spruce trees, and one of the most beautiful Austrian Pine trees in the City. 

At Liberty Park, we lost a Cottonwood Tree whose trunk was more than 4 feet in diameter, and at Washington Square we lost a Giant Sequioa -- the same species that grows in California and lives for hundreds of years. 

As a certified tree-lover, this has been difficult, especially since we know the benefits that trees and tree canopies provide residents, including reducing air pollution, conserving water and reducing erosion, creating shade and places to gather, and increasing property values. Trees are indispensable. But luckily, they aren’t completely irreplaceable. 

I’m excited to announce today that we are partnering with TreeUtah to ReTree SLC. 

It will be a joint effort to replace thousands of trees. We’ve heard from residents eager to help, and this is the answer. At ReTreeSLC.com, those interested can donate to TreeUtah and volunteer as the replanting efforts get underway this fall and beyond.

We’re excited to have Rocky Mountain Power and Ivory Homes on board with us as well, to support this initiative. 

Funds raised will directly help purchase trees that are selected to be hardy in the city’s urban environment for generations to come.

ReTree SLC is in addition to the City’s pledge to plant 1,000 extra trees in 2020, a goal that was in place well before the storm, and that we’re on track to meet in spite of it. We know how important the urban forest is to our city, and we’re committed not only to replanting it, but expanding it. 

Donations can be made at retreeslc