Many people have noted that the 9.8 acres of land in downtown Greenville, South Carolina were cleared for Greenville Water’s campus construction, including the giant oak trees. Also the large trees from the entrance drives to Haywood Mall were removed. This is not a green building technique since natural sites should be disturbed as little as possible, particularly leaving slow-growing mature hardwood trees.
The City of Greenville does have a tree ordinance (PDF). According to the Greenville Department of Parks and Recreation deputy director, Dale Westermeier, the Greenville Water campus project will combine saving existing trees with planting new ones to achieve the required 125 tree credits.
Communications specialist with Greenville Water Olivia Vassey said, “We were able to retain trees around the perimeter of the property. Construction is very difficult on trees and their root system. Even if we retained trees in the construction area, it’s highly likely they ultimately would not have survived.” A certified arborist assessed the most substantial oak tree removed off Washington Street and determined it had an “unacceptable risk of collapse of a significant portion of its main branches.”
Greenville Water is partnering with nonprofit TreesGreenville in the tree replacement of “all urban-hardy, mostly native trees.” A 20,000-square-foot operations building, parking deck, garage for large trucks and covered equipment storage area will be built in the project. The estimated $9 million redevelopment project came about from the water system quietly buying up land around its West Broad Street headquarters in 2013 to 2014. New trees will be planted down Washington Street and a community education area will showcase native plants and grasses and different rainwater collection methods.
The Haywood Mall tree removal was due to landscape revamping in the overall mall renovation. The mall management team emailed Amy Clarke Burns with Greenville News, “The trees that were replaced were overgrown for the location they were planted in. There was concern about the root systems being able to properly support their size.” The email said that twenty healthy trees were planted in their place along with 3,500 flowers, plants and shrubs.
Any Greenville County neighborhood can apply to be a TreesGreenville NeighborWood. Free trees are provided to participating residents in affordable housing NeighborWoods by TreesGreenville and in other NeighborWoods the fee ranges from $25 to $200 per tree. TreesGreenville has planted over 3400 trees throughout Greenville County aided by volunteers, partners, and members. It has a public tree planting campaign to plant 10,000 trees in ten years. Note the TreesGreenville efforts on the map.
Become a member of TreesGreenville, donate money and/or time, or honor a friend or relative with a Living Legacy Tree. There is also the TreesGreenville’s Corporate Tree Planting Project where employees’ tax-deductible donations fund supplies, materials, and tools for each corporate tree planting project. It is a source of team building plus company advertising, while reducing your carbon foot-print and helping make Greenville County healthier and more green. View the website for details or contact Joelle Teachey at 864.313.0765, or email email@example.com.