Cedar Rapids’ derecho reforestation plan takes root March 9 with virtual meeting

ReLeaf kick-off meeting

Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. on Zoom

Aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho photographed on Sept. 24, 2020. — Jessica Abdoney/Little Village

The City of Cedar Rapids is hosting a virtual event on Tuesday, March 9, to share how the public can get involved in efforts to replant the tree canopy that was destroyed in the August 2020 derecho.

Next week’s event will kick off the first part of the ReLeaf Cedar Rapids planning process. Individuals will learn about ReLeaf Cedar Rapids and how the plan will affect residents, according to a news release.

ReLeaf Cedar Rapids is a multimillion-dollar, 10-to-15-year effort to replant trees throughout Cedar Rapids. The Aug. 10, 2020, derecho destroyed about 65 percent of the city’s tree canopy. The city is partnering with local nonprofit Trees Forever, city planner and urban designer Jeff Speck and landscape architecture firm Confluence for the reforestation efforts.

The reforestation plan will have sections dedicated to each neighborhood, as well as designs for the city’s 38 parks. The plan will focus on six key principles: diversity in plantings, native trees, resilience, equity, beauty and public input. The goal is to have the plan completed by October.

“The size and the impact of the storm, as we all know, was unprecedented,” Parks and Recreation Director Scott Hock told the Cedar Rapids City Council last month. “To come back from something that was this devastating, we need a strong plan with a good vision to help us address the losses.”

The city is encouraging residents, business owners, employers, developers and neighborhood groups to attend the virtual meeting. Attendees will be able to provide initial input and learn how they can be involved in upcoming efforts.

The event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Online registration is required and will close two hours before the event’s start.

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