COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The City of College Station continues its efforts to decrease and mitigate the impacts of heat islands throughout the city.
College Station staff made a presentation to city leaders at Thursday night’s council meeting.
The Cooling College Station plan is a five-year comprehensive plan to combat urban heat by planting 4,787 trees in underplanted parks, green space pathways, rights-of-way and medians, and residential neighborhoods.
City staff say trees strategically planted in places that emit or generate heat, such as roads and sidewalks, can mitigate and curb the effects of urban heat islands.
Heat islands are located in certain pockets of the city that absorb and trap more heat than others. Typically, they are found in the most urbanized areas with high-rise buildings, parking lots, and paved roads. These heat islands can experience average temperatures five to ten degrees higher than in rural areas.
The plan would have an estimated cost of $3,213,850 and could change depending on inflation and the type of trees planted.
High-priority city locations include Edelweiss Park, Sandstone Park, Edelweiss Gartens Park, Anderson Park, Pebble Creek, Tarrow & Wayne Smith Sports Complex, Wolf Pen Creek Park, and Veterans Park and Sports Complex. It is estimated that 1,289 trees should be planted in these locations.
2,806 trees are planned to be planted near rights-of-way and other City properties.
Other areas being considered are College Station Cemetery, Aggie’s Field of Honor and Memorial Cemetery, as well as several other parks.
City leaders would also like to see 2,500 trees planted in residential areas.
A five-year program would break down to an average of 958 trees planted per year at an estimated cost of $643,172 per year. It’s a cost that City Council unanimously agreed was worth it.
“It looks like from every angle this is a good investment, and our mission is to protect the health, safety and well-being of our residents,” said College Station Councilman John Crompton. Place 2. “It’s a huge investment, I think, and the key to that is that you aim big or go home. There’s no point in planting a hundred trees from my point of view. You have to do it big.
The Texas A&M Forest Service also agrees with the proposal and has pledged to partner with the city in its efforts. The Texas A&M Forest Service is offering to pay $15,000 a year for two years to buy and plant trees to help combat urban heat islands. The Forest Service also donated 250 Texas Tested, Texas Tough seedlings for annual residential tree distribution events.
Mac Martin, coordinator of the Texas A&M Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Partnership, says the “Cooling College Station” initiative could have a big impact on the way of life for those who work, live and visit College Station.
“Shade from trees can provide temperature differences between 20 and 45 degrees,” Martin said. “It’s things like asphalt temperatures that really absorb heat, those kinds of surfaces. Shaded areas provide tons and tons of relief.
Martin says that’s not the only benefit trees provide.
“They have natural cooling processes both through evaporation and transpiration and it’s sort of the process of these roots taking up groundwater and then releasing those vapors through the leaves and having natural cooling processes which also give cooling temperatures in the communities,” Martin said.
College Station residents like Erica Derouen say more shade and trees would be great, especially during family time at Sandstone Park.
“I think the more trees the better,” Derouen said. “When we bring the little ones here to play, it’s easier for them to stay cool and allows them to be more active outside instead of having to stay inside all day on hot days like this one.”
City leaders are still considering how to budget for and implement the program. College Station City Council is expected to receive an updated presentation from Director of Planning and Development Services Michael Ostrowski in the coming weeks.
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