City's free tree program takes root:
In just 30 minutes on Thursday morning, 1,000 people snapped up free dogwood, crab apple and sweet gum seedlings the city gave away through its TreeVitalize program.
The city's urban forester, Lisa Ceoffe, said she was astonished at the turnout. At the same event last year, fewer than 100 people showed up to claim free seedlings. The remaining 900-plus were given away at farmers markets.
An estimated 2,000 people formed a snaky line around the portico of the City-County Building and down the Grant Street sidewalk by 11 a.m., when the first tree was handed out. People who showed up at 11:35 a.m., expecting to have until 1 p.m. to claim a tree said, 'Oh man,' and 'You're kidding!' when they learned the trees were gone. People in line dispersed in disbelief.
'It's a good problem to have,' Ms. Ceoffe said, 'this many people taking time on their lunch hour for a tree.'
She said she overnight-ordered 1,000 trees to give away Saturday at an Earth Day event at the Frick Park Environmental Center, 2500 Beechwood Blvd. That event, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., was to have been the vehicle for dispersing what was left from yesterday's giveaway.