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Pikeville is adding 40 more trees to its new downtown streetscaping to bring back a small-town feel after a highway bypass stripped the city of its quaint coziness.

Kimball is putting some shade into a new city park with 75 trees.

Sweetwater is dressing up Engleman Park and the city entrance at Highway 68 with 24 trees.

Crossville is adding 67 trees to Garrison Park Cemetery and around a new library.

Chattanooga's Take Root program is planting 207 trees - gingko, happidaze sweetgum, maple, linden, overcup oak and chinese pistache - to meet a goal of doubling the business district's green canopy.

These go-green efforts and 23 similar ones across Tennessee got a boost recently from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture with more than $252,000 in Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program forestry grants.

PDF: Tree grant recipients

TREE GRANTS

Sweetwater: $1,077

Kimball: $3,725

Pikeville: $3,759

Crossville: $3,925

Cookeville: $7,500

Chattanooga: $19,198

Total for 28 communities: $252,177

Source: Tennessee Department of Agriculture

The grants, funded with a portion of Tennessee's tobacco tax money, will help cities and towns reduce heat buildup, control stormwater and look good, said Bruce Webster, state urban forester.

"The grants pay for half the cost of the trees, their shipping, mulch and planting if the planting is hired or contracted," he said.

But, with the 28 recipient cities matching the grants dollar for dollar, they also help stimulate Tennessee tree nursery industry. The grants require that all the trees be purchased from Tennessee growers, he said. And they must be planted on public land.

Pikeville Mayor Greg Johnson said his town lost $100,000 in local option sales tax in one year after the bypass dropped downtown traffic counts from more than 12,000 a day to 325 a day.

"This is a very big help, to receive these grant monies to fund these projects that otherwise would have to come from city taxpayers," he said.

Kimball Mayor David Jackson said the town's new 80-acre park will be much more appealing with some shade.

"Anytime you can plant a tree and give back to nature, it's good," he said. "We've got people here who'd like to see have sidewalks with trees all through the town."

Preston Roberts, the Take Root Project coordinator in Chattanooga, said the money is helping his nonprofit organization leverage money to fulfill its lofty goal of planting about 1,500 new trees in the business district. So far the group has planted about 600 trees, not counting the new ones.

"It usually takes roughly $200 to plant a 2-inch (trunk diameter) tree. With this grant, we can get that cost closer to $130. It helps us go farther with the money we've got," Mr. Roberts said.

Mr. Webster said the grants allocated last month represent the third year of the program.

In year one, the Department of Agriculture funded $131,751 to plant 3,170 trees in 29 places.

Last year, the department spent $168,391 to place 2,360 trees in 28 communities.

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