HOLLYWOOD PARK — The city is promoting a tree-planting program that benefits homeowners and the environment.
CPS Energy’s Green Shade Tree Rebate program rewards customers for planting leafy trees that increase energy efficiency around homes.
Another plus to the program is the expansion of the city’s tree coverage, officials said.
“It’s more of a proactive program to encourage the planting of trees and increase the city’s tree canopy,” Mayor Chris Murphy said. “It’s a win-win.”
Homeowners may visit the CPS Energy website at www.cpsenergy.com/en.html to see program guidelines. Residents may plant a qualified non-oak tree on the west, south or east side of their property.
Non-oak trees are required to help stave off oak wilt, a disease that has become more aggressive in Hollywood Park and other North Side communities in recent years.
Rebates of $50 for each eligible tree are provided on a first-come, first-served basis — until local program funds are exhausted. There is a lifetime limit of five rebates per home.
The City Council discussed the program on Nov. 20. Since its inception in 2010, the initiative has resulted in 6,000 requests for rebates, and involved the planting of more than 10,600 trees across the utility’s far-flung service area.
Research indicates the effects of an urban heat island are offset by the presence of a community’s tree canopy. An urban heat island is defined as a metropolitan area warmer than neighboring rural areas due to human activity
In addition, trees produce oxygen, and intercept the particulates that produce smog and irritate a person’s respiratory system.
Hollywood Park is among fewer than 10 San Antonio-area cities that have the official Tree City USA distinction from the Arbor Day Foundation.
A Tree City, according to the foundation, is recognized for successfully meeting four standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day.
Kim Stoker, a member of the city’s tree advisory board, works at CPS Energy as senior director of environmental sustainability.
Stoker said her Hollywood Park group has promoted the tree rebate program through a newsletter and other means. She also said more trees and fewer air pollutants mean cleaner stormwater.
“We’re very passionate about what we do to help the community,” Stoker added. “We all have an impact on the community, but we try to minimize that impact.”