Arbor Day 2001: Greening the Greenway

On Saturday, April 28, the Midtown Community Works Partnership and the Midtown Greenway Coalition sponsored an Arbor Day event that marked an important stage of development in the Midtown Greenway Corridor-greening of the Greenway. Bringing together the MCW Partners, local government, neighborhood organizations and Greenway residents, the occasion was a unique opportunity to truly experience the Greenway and assist in its redevelopment. 

Volunteers from neighborhoods and communities bordering the Greenway, along with volunteers from MCW organizations planted 250 trees, shrubs and perennials, in clusters along the Greenway. Five areas bordering ten neighborhoods were identified for planting (from west to east): Kenilworth Trail and Dean Parkway, the Mall at Hennepin Avenue, Fremont Avenue, Nicollet Avenue and Kix Field.

The MCW Partnership selected Close Landscape Architecture to develop a landscaping plan and hired Twin Cities Tree Trust to lend organizational support to the project. The local chapter of Tree Trust (a private, nonprofit organization that acts as a catalyst for local volunteer and community service groups in the growing, planting, and maintenance of trees in rural and urban areas) worked together with the MCW Partnership and the Midtown Greenway Coalition to rally volunteers in the neighborhoods prior to the event. 

MCW Co-Chair, Jim Campbell greeted guests and volunteers at a welcoming ceremony held near Kix field on the Greenway’s east end. Local officials and MCW Partners including Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Council Members Lisa McDonald and Brian Herron and Met Council Chair Ted Mondale, thanked volunteers and spoke briefly of the significance of the redevelopment of the Greenway. Following the ceremony, representatives of Tree Trust and Master Gardeners provided training to volunteers to ensure proper planting of the trees. After planting, volunteers enjoyed lunch supplied by the Partnership. 

The tree-planting event was a fun and productive way to unite the neighborhoods along the Greenway in a common effort. Community residents learned more about the Midtown development project and gained a sense of ownership in the Greenway itself. The end result is a more beautiful, appealing urban park for each neighborhood to enjoy.