Plant 34,000 trees in Worcester ‘heat islands’

A largely treeless street in the Green Island neighborhood of Worcester.

WORCESTER — It could potentially cost Worcester taxpayers nearly $20 million if the city follows a consultant’s recommendation to plant 34,000 trees. Meanwhile, the city noted it’s too early to confirm a cost and what it means for taxpayers.

The report by Urban Climate Consulting LLC did not include a cost analysis because it was not within the scope of the project, according to the consultant. When the final report was presented Monday night to the Green Worcester Advisory Committee, member Ted Conna calculated it would cost roughly $20 million to plant 34,000 trees.

“Thirty-four thousand trees is great. The more the better,” said Conna. “Thirty-four thousand trees, if you plant them the way the city does, you’re talking $20 million.”

One possibility is an $18.7 million cost because it costs at least $550 in taxpayer funds for each tree that is replanted, according to Robert Antonelli, assistant commissioner of public works and parks. Antonelli gave the $550 figure during an interview with the Telegram & Gazette in August for an unrelated story about replanting trees along public streets.