Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall on Monday kicked off the latest round of her 1,000 Trees Initiative, a commitment to Salt Lakers to add 1,000 more trees, and the benefits they provide, to the city’s west side every year she is in office.
Mendenhall was joined by Tony Gliot, director of the city’s Urban Forestry Division, and state Reps. Sandra Hollins and Angela Romeo and others in planting trees at the International Peace Gardens.
During her mayoral campaign in 2019, Mendenhall said the initiative to plant 4,000 trees over her four-year term would help clean the air, while also making west-side Salt Lake City neighborhoods more welcoming.
“Because more trees really means less pollution,” Mendenhall said. “It means more walkable neighborhoods. It means lower crime rates. It means increased property values. It means taking pollution out of the air and making it easier to breathe and live and work and walk and play here in Salt Lake City.”
Mendenhall noted a “staggering inequity” in Salt Lake City between east-side and west-side neighborhoods when it comes to trees — and she promised to help narrow that gap.
According to the city, the mayor’s initiative took on greater significance when the COVID-19 pandemic found people spending more time in their neighborhoods and parks, and again when hurricane-force winds tore through the valley on Sept. 8, 2020, downing thousands of trees citywide.