The Howard Hughes Corporation and Blossoms of Hope are joining forces once again to plant 100 pink-blossoming trees – 84 Kwansan Cherry and 16 Native Dogwood – in Downtown Columbia. The planting is intended to maximize and draw attention to the natural beauty of Downtown Columbia by eventually lining the streets with flowering trees from the Merriweather District to the Lake Kittamaqundi Lakefront and in other areas.
The Howard Hughes Corporation purchased the trees from Blossoms of Hope, a local nonprofit organization which raises funds to benefit the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center and other charities. A ceremonial planting, featuring remarks by County Executive Calvin Ball, Greg Fitchitt, President of Columbia for The Howard Hughes Corporation, Blossoms of Hope Board Chair Joe Barbera, and Lori Lilly, Executive Director of Howard EcoWorks, was held Oct. 9.
“Howard County residents deserve to live, work, and play in a safe, healthy, and beautiful community – and I commend Howard Hughes and each of their partners here today who are working to make that a reality for everyone,” said Ball at the tree planting. “These 100 new trees will be a wonderful addition to Downtown Columbia and amplify the natural beauty of our community we all value and enjoy.”
“Columbia was originally designed as a ‘city in a garden’, Fitchitt said. “Our partnership with Blossoms of Hope has multiple benefits, not the least of which is contributing to that vision,” he added. The Howard Hughes Corporation has planted more than 2,600 trees in Howard County over the past four years as part of its commitment to plant 10,000 trees in Howard County over 20 years, Fitchitt said.
“Blossoms of Hope is honored to work with The Howard Hughes Corporation again in planting another 100 trees in Downtown Columbia for the third year in a row,” said Barbera. “It is exciting to see the pink of the cherry trees in the spring and to have them be a part of Blossoms’ growing “grove” of more than 2,500 trees throughout Howard County,” he added.
The mission of Blossoms of Hope is to enhance quality of life through beautification projects and support for cancer and other causes.
The latest tree planting will beautify multiple locations, including Corporate Plaza near The Food Market restaurant now under construction on the ground floor in the 40 Corporate Center office building on Little Patuxent Parkway. The Food Market, which operates a popular dining spot in Hampden, will open later this year.
The trees will be planted by Howard EcoWorks, a nonprofit with a mission to empower communities and diverse workforces to respect and restore natural systems for future generations. EcoWorks manages several green jobs programs for young adults, the under-served and those interested in pursuing environmental careers. EcoWorks operates a native plant nursery out of the Howard County Department Corrections where a jail to jobs pipeline is being developed, provides critical support services for Ellicott City flood mitigation efforts, and engages dozens of neighborhoods, faith based institutions, schools and nonprofits every year in environmental stewardship projects.
“Howard EcoWorks is proud to collaborate with Howard Hughes and Blossoms of Hope again,” said Kevin McAliley, Vice Chair of Howard EcoWorks. “Our programs and missions align. Planting trees in Downtown Columbia will result in resilient landscapes for the community to enjoy for years to come. We value this partnership and the opportunity for our team to participate in creating sustainable environments for future generations.”
“Howard EcoWorks has been partnering with Howard Hughes and Blossoms of Hope on this meaningful tree planting effort since 2017. We are excited that, despite current challenging circumstances, the project can continue in 2020,” said Lilly. “This represents an actionable step that supports health and well-being, beautification, and workforce development through the meaningful effort of planting trees using and supporting our green jobs programs. We are proud to be a part of this program,” she added.
Photo of those taking part in the ceremonial planting of pink flowering trees in Downtown Columbia were The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Columbia President Greg Fitchitt and and Vice President of Office Leasing Karen Cherry, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, , Blossoms of Hope Board Chairman Joe Barbera, and Howard EcoWorks Board Vice Chair Kevin McAliley and Executive Director Lori Lilly.