By 2025, the city hopes to plant more than 30,000 trees, which would replace the trees lost on city property, due to Hurricane Michael.
“Tree canopies bring an ecosystem-type service, which is pollution control,” Sean DePalma, Panama City Quality of Life Director said. “It’s a natural air filter, and also stormwater management. It helps absorb a lot of stormwater so that will help us out.”
Overall the city lost more than a million trees from the hurricane. Soon DePalma said the city will start planting oak trees downtown along Harrison Ave., from Government Ave. to Fourth Street.
“It also adds a quality of life,” DePalma said. “Aesthetics, it brings up the value of the property, it brings shade to patrons. You know families and individuals underneath it so there’s a lot of value to a healthy tree canopy. And that’s what we’re going to strive to work towards.”
Downtown business owners are excited for the downtown area to return to its look, before Hurricane Michael.
“What that’s gonna provide for our public is shade, beauty,” Nate Taylor, operating partner of C&G Sporting Goods said. “Who doesn’t love an oak? And I believe the size of the trees are at 15 feet because they’ve got to be ADA compliant as well.”
Taylor is hopeful that the oak trees will bring more squirrels and birds downtown as well.
“The tree management plan is going to look to have us recover what we lost, and then also plan for what we’re going to need as we develop as a city and grow larger,” DePalma said.