After 100 mph winds, a derecho, and several tornados ravaged the Greater Capital Region on Oct. 7, many trees that had stood for decades were lost in parks and neighborhoods around the area. To restore some of the damage to trees and recreation areas, National Gridis providing $240,000 in support to local counties and cities hit hardest by the storm.
The funding will be provided to Rensselaer, Albany and Schenectady counties as well as the cities of Troy, Albany and Schenectady, where the greatest impact of the storm occurred.
'This was a remarkable event in this region that caused hundreds of thousands of National Grid customers to lose power, damage to critical facilities and the unfortunate loss of natural resources like trees and other vegetation,' said National Grid Regional Director of Customer and Community Laurie Poltynski. 'These are areas where our employees live and work. We wanted to do something to help with the restoration effort beyond getting the lights back on. We wanted to contribute something with a longer-lasting impact.'
The funding will support reforestation in parks, public gathering spaces and under National Grid wires that sustained significant damage. The support comes from both National Grid community funding as well as the company's 10,000 Trees program that helps with restoration efforts and education by encouraging the use of low-growing plants around utility equipment.
'Planting the right tree in the right place can help reduce outages and damage during a storm,' Poltynski said.
Regions eligible for the Greater Capital Region, post-storm support are determining where to invest the funding during the spring planting season.
City of Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said, 'The October 7 storm caused significant damage across our entire city and across the entire region. We are incredibly grateful for this assistance from National Grid that will not only help our community rebuild from this powerful storm but will have a lasting and viable impact on the health and vibrancy of our neighborhoods.'
The program will offer funding for both rural and urban areas.
'Managing a complex urban forest can be challenging especially when the unforeseen happens. We are grateful for the support of National Grid as they help us to defray the cost of repopulating.', said Sergio Panunzio, Commissioner of Albany Department of General Services.
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy added, 'Areas of Albany County were hard hit by storm damage on October 7 when trees were uprooted in neighborhoods within minutes, leaving a path of devastation. It took days to get people back online but it will take years to replace the greenery in those communities. Thank you to National Grid for its 10,000 Trees Program which will help restore our neighborhoods.'
The 10,000 Tree program is designed to promote the placement of low-growing trees to significantly avoid or minimize utility line conflicts in the future. The program is open to all municipalities and county agencies responsible for tree and urban forest management within National Grid's upstate New York electric service area. Not-for-profit tree committees, operating for and approved by a municipality through a supporting resolution, may also apply.
'National Grid's goal is to help municipalities plan before planting,' added Poltynski. 'We want to assure trees are selected and planted to improve their chances for survival and to minimize future conflicts with underground and overhead electric equipment. The steps we take now will help to reduce the need for future line clearance tree pruning or removals, reduce tree-caused outages, eliminate the hazards and problems caused by poor performing tree species, and help to add a greater variety and diversity of tree species in our community.'
National Grid is committed to help municipalities succeed in their tree installation projects. Customers are encouraged to visit National Grid's website at www.nationalgridus.comto review a list of recommended low-growing tree species and guidelines. For information related to recommended tree species or planting techniques, customers are encouraged to contact their local Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation or visit the Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute website at www.hort.cornell.edu.
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