EDITORIAL: Donors step up to save pools and trees
Apr 15, 2012 (Menafn - The Sacramento Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Sacramento residents have come through in a big way in recent months to protect and preserve two important community assets -- public pools and trees.
Pools first. Thanks to the generosity of the private donors and the business community -- Save Mart Supermarkets, in particular -- six Sacramento city pools and five wading pools will open again this summer. When Save Mart and the city of Sacramento launched their Save Our Pools fundraising drive on Valentine's Day, they set a goal of 1 million. That was the amount the city calculated would be needed to reopen all municipal pools that were open last year.
As of last week, it did not appear that they would reach their goal.
But, thanks to last-minute donations from Wells Fargo, which chipped in 50,000, and the Sacramento New Car Dealers Association, which committed another 60,000, the city was able to reach its goal. So the city's public pools -- not all of them, but about half -- will open for limited hours this summer. That's a good thing but not exactly a model for how to keep public recreational programs viable in this city over the long run. The close call on the fundraising drive is a further sign of the need for Sacramento city parks and recreation programs to create an independent funding source.
The other good civic note was sounded when the Sacramento Tree Foundation announced it had reached its 30,000 tree goal. Community groups, businesses and local governments have pledged to plant 30,000 trees in the six-county region between now and Arbor Day, March 7.
The benefit of a tree canopy in California's arid Central Valley is huge. As Tree Foundation executive director Ray Tretheway reminds us, "Trees clean the air we breathe, cool our homes in the summer and make our neighborhoods healthy and attractive."
Over a 20-year period, Tree Foundation officials say, the 30,000 trees planted will capture 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, soak up 11 million gallons of storm water and remove 110,000 pounds of pollution from the air.
Sacramento County residents can pick up trees for planting in their own yards free of charge from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Also, Green Acres nurseries are donating tree planting packages, including stakes and ties, for those who buy trees from their nurseries to fulfill their Tree Foundation pledge.
Those who need information on what is the best kind of trees to plant and where on their property to plant them to get the optimum environmental benefits, should contact the Tree Foundation at www.sactree.com. The Tree Foundation continues to accept tree-planting pledges. People who want to continue to give to help keep city pools operating, can visit the city parks and recreation website at www.cityofsacramento.org/parksandrecreation and select the "Donate Now!" button.
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