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The Village of Howard recently received a grant from ATC’s Community Planting Program to help plant 54 trees at Howard Commons. The trees will be a mix of scarlet sentinel red maple, emerald sentinel sweetgum, Arnold tulip poplar, emerald city tulip poplar, pyramidal white pine, London Paine tree, crimson spire oak, sentry linden, and new horizon elm.

“We’re excited to complete Howard Commons with world-class landscaping and tree plantings that will benefit the community for generations to come,” said Howard Village Administrator Paul Evert. “With this grant from ATC, we’ll be able to further beautify a community gathering space that has been years in the making. We are excited for everyone to come check it out.”

The Community Planting Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties, and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation outside the transmission line rights-of-way. Now in its 10th year, ATC has given over 300 community awards for these projects totaling more than $625,000.

“We recognize that trees and vegetation are among the features that make communities special places for residents and visitors,” said ATC Maintenance Program Manager Adam Helminiak. “While we can’t allow trees or tall growing vegetation in our rights of way, ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that will beautify communities in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.”

ATC’s Pollinator Habitat Program provides funding for site preparation; purchasing seed, plugs or plants; labor and installation; or other activities to establish quality pollinator habitat. Unlike the Community Planting Program, the Pollinator Habitat Program promotes planting low-growing vegetation within a transmission line right-of-way. It is open to cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes within ATC’s service area, as well as to entities that allow public access to ATC rights-of-way such as nature preserves, non-profits or public land managers.

To qualify for either program, communities must commit that all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines will comply with ATC’s maintenance standards. Cities, villages, towns, counties, and tribes within ATC’s service area are eligible to apply for funding through the Community Planting Program. The Pollinator Habitat Program also is open to cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes within ATC’s service area, as well as to entities that allow public access to ATC rights-of-way such as nature preserves, non-profits or public land managers.

ATC accepts applications from July 1 through September 30, and award recipients are selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards for both programs range from $100 to $5,000.

Additional information and program applications can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.

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