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Tree Plantings Aim To Boost Detroit Revitalization

DETROIT (AP) - A nonprofit pushing for urban reforestation is looking to a recently revealed blueprint for revitalizing Detroit to help guide its work and build on other efforts to improve the city.

The Greening of Detroit begins its annual spring plantings Saturday, aiming to put the first 300 of about 2,500 trees in the ground by mid-June. Rebecca Salminen Witt, the organization's president, said the Detroit Future City blueprint released in January is a valuable resource.

"We want to make sure that every tree planting dollar we have the city is getting the most out of it," she said in an interview this week.

The 349-page Detroit Future City plan looks to stabilize aspects of Detroit within five years while transforming the entire city in 20 to 50 years. Released by Mayor Dave Bing, it suggests ways the city can transform many of its empty, ramshackle neighborhoods into viable uses.

Plans call for making better use of vacant land and developing green infrastructures.

The Greening of Detroit also is teaming with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department on plantings to ease flooding and stormwater runoff, including two sites Saturday. Employees of Detroit-based Quicken Loans and volunteers from Detroit Institute of Technology High School are among those helping.

"These are areas where they most need trees," Salminen Witt said. "Areas that flood in the spring have a lot of concrete."

Known a century ago for its tree-lined streets and neighborhoods, Detroit saw much of its greenery fall casualty to the spread of Dutch elm disease in the 1950s and, more recently, the tree-killing emerald ash borer. The Greening of Detroit has been planting trees for more than two decades.

Volunteer opportunities and a list of scheduled spring plantings are posted on organization's website.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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