‘Cooling College Station’ plan continues with help from Texas A&M Forest Service

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:35 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -The City of College Station is one step closer to adding more life to the community.

The city’s five-year plan called ‘Cooling College Station’ which focuses on mitigating the effects of urban heat islands was awarded a $43,302 equity and accessibility grant to plant and care for 117 trees in environmentally disadvantaged communities.

Alyssa Halle-Schramm, Long Range Planning Administrator, told KBTX the quest to create a cooler city started back in 2021.

“So, to address the heat impact that we all feel here in Texas but specifically here in College Station, our city council asked us to create a tree planting plan called ‘Cooling College Station’,” Halle-Schramm said. “We used satellite data as essentially a heat map of where the hottest areas of the city are. We identified areas to plant a little less than 4,800 trees in total and that’s really scattered around the city. At the end of 2021, going into 2022, the council was really receptive of that plan and essentially wanted staff to move forward for funding opportunities.”

Funding opportunities like what the Texas A&M Forest Service is offering.

“This grant through the Texas A&M Forest Service, first off we really thank them for the funding, will fund 117 trees in Bee Creek park and then Tarrow park which also includes the Wayne Smith Athletic Complex,” said Halle-Schramm.

Mickey Merritt, Texas A&M Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Leader, said it’s important to know that trees are more than just for aesthetics.

“It’s a matching grant, one-for-one. This grant is to help them with their heat island mitigation planning. This involves tree planting but also in areas that are disadvantaged or places we usually don’t have these types of services too,” said Merritt. “Trees are way more than beautification. Hopefully this just the start and more communities start participating and creating these programs. Our headquarters is in this community, so honestly being able to partner with the city strikes home for us in a sense.”

The new trees will be planted as soon as the city and Texas A&M Forest Service get the funding sorted out, according to Halle-Schramm.

“We’re looking at a city as a whole, holistically,” said Halle-Schramm. “We’re not just concerned about the buildings and the streets. But, also what does it feel like when you get there? Trees add to that.”

For more information on the Texas A&M Forest Service, click here.