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Downtown Tucson Receives Big Valentine’s Day Gift

Jacome Plaza, Downtown Tucson, Az, February 14, 2018 - While a bouquet of roses is always a nice gift for Valentine’s Day, downtown Tucson recieved quite a bit more thanks to some local Rotary Clubs and city staff.

Four trees were planted at Jacome Plaza in front of the Joel D. Valdez Library on Wednesday, February 14. The trees have been donated by four local Rotary Clubs and represent a marriage between Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s initiative to increase the number of trees in the city and a push by Rotary International to plant a tree for every member in the organization.

The four trees are the first of 16 that will be planted throughout the downtown area. Along with Pantano, Sunset, Presidio and Old Pueblo Rotary Clubs, the Downtown Tucson Partnership (DTP), Mayor Rothschild, and Trees for Tucson are partnering on the project.

“We feel this project is increasingly important because as we revitalize downtown, we need to revitalize and reforest our public spaces as well,” said Katie Ganon, Trees for Tucson Program Director.

Rotary International has made it a goal to plant one tree for every member of the organization worldwide. In Tucson, that translates to approximately 800 new shade trees, according to Diane Ventura Rotary Club of Old Pueblo representative. The Rotary District 5500, which covers the state south of the Phoenix metropolitan area, includes approximately 1,500 members.

This aligns with Mayor Rothschild’s initiative to increase the number of shade trees in Tucson by 20,000. Thus far, Tucsonans have planted more than 19,770 trees throughout the city.

"Trees help keep our city cool, livable and beautiful. Count any trees you plant toward our citywide goal at,” Rothschild said.

The trees also represent another step by DTP to beautify Jacome Plaza while increasing safety. Thus far, crime in the plaza has fallen by 93 percent, while new park users have increased exponentially. Additionally, homeless campers have decreased by 91 percent, according to DTP statistics.