Foundation gives $3,500 for city tree plantings

The City of Rome has received a $3,500 grant from the Rome Community Foundation’s Stevens-Kingsley Fund to help offset the cost of a tree planting project to beautify residential and mixed-use neighborhoods, foundation President David C. Grow announced.

Rome and Utica jointly applied for a cost-share grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for the proposal, the Rust 2 Green Urban Tree Planting Project.

The request was approved last year and announced in December. The cities will split a $25,000 state grant, and each is required to contribute a 50 percent match — $6,250. The Foundation grant will cover a portion of the city’s obligation.

"The advisors to the Stevens-Kingsley Fund were very impressed with the tree planting proposal initiated by the cities of Rome and Utica," Grow noted. "Despite the fact that the Rome Community Foundation did not receive a request for project funding, members of the board of directors authorized that a special grant be made to the City of Rome."

The tree planting is scheduled to start in April. The trees will be planted in underserved areas affected by their proximity to brownfields and urban corridors, according to Christian J. Mercurio, acting director of the city’s Deparment of Community and Economic Development.


Rome Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr., expressed his appreciation for the foundation grant, noting that it will help strengthen the city’s ongoing program to beautify neighborhoods and promote green projects. It will also save taxpayer money, he added.

"The Rust 2 Green Urban Tree Planting Project represents a successful cooperative effort between the cities of Rome and Utica that will address some of the long-term environmental and beautification needs of the region," Fusco said. "This project will result in the planting of more than 100 trees in some of Rome’s residential neighborhoods."

Christian J. Mercurio, acting director of Rome’s Department of Community and Economic Development, coordinated the Rust 2 Green project with officials from Rome and Utica’s Planning and Public Works departments. Mercurio, a certified arborist, said the principal project date will be Arbor Day, April 27, when volunteers from Rome and Utica are slated to participate in regional tree planting projects throughout the bi-city region. A first-ever Rome-Utica Arbor Day celebration also is being planned in cooperation with Rome Clean & Green, Leatherstocking ReLeaf and the Genesis Group.

For further information about the Rome Community Foundation, call 336-4700 or visit