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Newport has a grant to un-pave paradise and put up a tree lot

Wide concrete sidewalk that extends from houses to street. cars parked along street, houses on right side
Tana Weingartner
Newport will rip out concrete that was put down where tree lawns once stood, and replace them with trees.

With apologies to Joni Mitchell, Newport will use a $1 million federal grant to remove paved areas on the city's west side and plant 1,000 trees.

Newport will use a $1 million federal grant to rip out unnecessary concrete in parts of the city's west side and plant up to a thousand trees.

"(The west side) lacks the canopy that the majority of the rest of the city already has the benefit of," says Mayor Tom Guidugli. "The benefits of what the tree canopy provides are significant because they improve air quality, they reduce urban heat, and enhance the overall quality of life."

"Newport's a walkable community," he adds. "Having the shade of a tree on a hot day is something that is a real value to our residents."

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The funding comes from a U.S. Forest Service grant. It's part of a billion dollar grant funding more than 400 projects to expand greenspaces and plant trees across the country. It's part of the 2022 federal Inflation Reduction Act.

Newport will use the $1 million grant to purchase and plant trees, but also to remove thousands of square feet of concrete and replace it with greenspace. Guidugli says the aim is to start un-paving in the spring.

"The sidewalks in our community, especially on the west side, have areas where traditionally you would have a lawn strip of grass out front... it was all filled in with concrete," he explains. "That has been removed in large areas of our community and the west side is the final one to actually start replacing the concrete with the lawn strip that was there previously."

If the process goes as planned, Guidugli says planting would also begin in the spring.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.