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Cities, county receive money to plant trees

COVINGTON — Newton County and the cities of Covington and Oxford have received a combined $14,300 to plant trees at various locations.

The grants are funded through the American Recovery and Re-investment Act. Money was distributed to the Georgia Forestry Commission to pass along to local communities. The Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council joined two other RC&D councils in applying for the grant on behalf of the local governments.

"This project will stimulate local green jobs by purchasing trees from local private nurseries and employing private landscape contractors to plant and maintain the trees for three years," said Jerome Brown, coordinator for the Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D Council.

Covington received $6,000 to plant trees in City Pond Park. City Forester Kevin Sorrow said he hopes the money will pay for about 20 redbud trees.

"The RC&D will put it out to contract. As many trees as we can plant for $6,000, including maintenance for three years, that's how many we're going to plant," he said. "This is one of the better grants you can receive. We really won't have to do anything but the paperwork."

The city of Oxford also received $6,000 to plant a variety of species of trees at the new city hall; at George Street Park; and along the Oxford Nature Trail. Newton County received $2,300 to plant approximately six trees at the Harris Springs Fire Station and the Almon Community Center.

"Trees provide excellent environmental benefits and improve air quality. They provide shade to people and provide wildlife benefits," Brown said. "They also add to the local county's greenspace initiative."

The trees must be planted between December and March.