Iranian American City Council Member Spurs Largest Tree Planting Initiative in N. Texas History
May 4, 2010, Richardson, TX – For Richardson City Council member Amir Omar, a simple idea has turned into a massive campaign. While running last summer, Omar took note of the lack of shade on certain trails in his city and decided to do something about it. With widespread support from corporate sponsors, nonprofits, and volunteers, Amir Omar’s simple goal of providing shade has turned into the largest tree planting initiative Northern Texas has ever seen.
The project, “Tree the Town”, aims to plant 50,000 trees on public as well as private property in Richardson within the next ten years. According to Michael Massey, Director of Richardson’s Parks and Recreation Department, the project has received “an overwhelming response of people wanting to participate.”
Although the cost estimates to plant 50,000 trees run as high as $34 million, “Tree the Town” will be of no financial burden on the City of Richardson. “The city is relying on volunteers to do most of the planting on public land and has incurred no additional budgeted costs,” stated Omar. The Texas Tree Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is working with sponsors to select and position trees in strategic locations where they can help reduce pollution and noise while beautifying the City.
Richardson residents, corporations, small businesses, neighborhood associations, and civic clubs have all been invited to participate, and individuals who plant trees on their private property may register them with the “Tree the Town” initiative. On April 18th, the first group of one hundred trees was planted by an eager group of volunteers comprised of a cross section of the community including Boy and Girl Scouts as well as University of Texas Dallas college students.
“For me, the biggest impact of this effort will be in the category of community building,” said Omar. “You know an idea is worthwhile when you have people with several different interests getting together for one goal.” The first Iranian American to be elected to serve in public office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Amir Omar has served on the Richardson City Council since June of 2009.
Click here to learn more about Amir Omar.