Forest Hills, Rego Park getting a little greener
by Michael Perlman
Oct 30, 2013 | 4040 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A tree grows in Queens! Soon, Forest Hills and Rego Park residents will wake one morning to see less cement and more greenery.

In collaboration with the MillionTreesNYC initiative, the Parks Department is hard at work planting street trees. And through the city's Green Infrastructure Program, the Department of Environmental Protection is surveying sites for curbside bioswales.

Construction is slated to begin in spring of 2014 and be completed later that summer. Plans call for three bioswales in front of Our Saviour New York Church on 63rd Drive, as well as one in front of Bank of America on 66th Road.

“DEP engineers go block by block through neighborhoods that drain into priority waterbodies, and investigate the feasibility of installing bioswales that will keep stormwater out of the combined sewer system,” said Ted Timbers of DEP.

There are, however, some concerns over maintaining the bioswales. But Timbers assured residents that the city will take care of them.

“DEP funds specialized crews from the Parks Department who are dedicated to maintaining all bioswales and greenstreet installations, including removing litter and pruning trees,” Timbers said.

Plans are underway to plant 9,300 street trees across the city this fall.

“In Community Board 6, which covers most of Rego Park and Forest Hills, we intend to plant 52 new trees,” said Zachary Feder of the Parks Department.

That's in addition to 49 street tree requests from homeowners that were filed with the Parks Department. Residents can request a street tree by calling 311. The city will attempt to fulfill all street tree requests on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as it does not pose any infrastructural conflicts.

The spring planting season runs from March 1 to May 31 and the fall season from October 1 to December 31.

Graceful trees, such as Maple and Elm, once lined many city streets, but succumbed to the Asian Longhorn Beetle. Now new species of trees are taking their place.

“The Parks Department believes in planting as diverse of a palette of street trees as possible,” said Feder. “Over 150 tree species are planted every season.”

In addition to preventing the spread of pests, trees are selected on the basis of environmental tolerances, such as the soil’s pH content, moisture and pollution. The Parks Department’s goal is to plant between 15,000 and 20,000 trees per year.

During this time of increasing development, Queens communities are becoming greener and more sustainable and aesthetically appealing.

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