Hillsborough County Neighborhood Tree Mini-grant Program
The Hillsborough County Neighborhood Relations Program makes grant funds available for neighborhood tree planting projects through the county's Environmental Restoration Fund. This matching grant program is only for associations in unincorporated Hillsborough County. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis and evaluated for eligibility and allocation as received until available funds have been depleted.
The purpose of this matching grant program is to encourage the planting of trees within public or private common areas exposed to the community population. The Board of County Commissioners recognizes that the planting of trees proves invaluable to the overall welfare of our communities. Trees provide numerous environmental benefits such as oxygen production, air pollution control, noise abatement, rainfall dispersion to control flooding, and aesthetic and wildlife enhancement. For these reasons and many more valuable attributes, this program encourages the planting of trees in community-maintained areas and road rights of way within or adjacent to the neighborhood.
Neighborhood, Civic, Homeowner Associations, Community Development Corporations and Special Taxing Districts located in Unincorporated Hillsborough County are eligible to apply for funding. Homeowner Associations must be released from their developer.
Requirements and Considerations
- A water source for the new plantings must be available.
- A maximum of 50% of the Tree Program Mini-Grant monies may be spent on drought tolerant shrubbery.
- Applicants are required to provide a minimum match of 50% of the funds requested, either as cash or in-kind services.
- Match above 50% is encouraged.
- Applicants are required to involve residents to provide volunteer manpower in the planting, care and maintenance of the trees.
- Type and size of plantings is required for County Forester approval. The applicant is not required to get this approval before applying; Neighborhood Relations staff will arrange for the review upon receipt of the application.
- Consideration will be given to including native vegetation and shrubbery as compliments to trees to prevent run-off and retain moisture.
- Cypress mulch will not be an allowable expense, for conservation reasons. Other types of mulch are allowable.
- All plantings must account for required vehicular clearance recovery and unobstructed vehicle lines of sight.
- Any permits necessary for the project are the responsibility of the association.
- Awardees are encouraged to utilize agriculture programs in the public schools as a potential source for trees.
- Awardees will be required to sign a maintenance agreement with the County, agreeing to water, fertilize, prune and provide other care to ensure the survival to the trees and shrubbery that are planted through this program.
- Awardees will be required to submit a report, including before and after photographs, and an inventory of tree and other plantings with a description of their condition to the Office of Neighborhood Relations on completion of the plantings, and annually thereafter for two years. Tree survival success and the transmittal of required monitoring reports for the awarded grant will be considered when determining eligibility for subsequent mini-grant application requests. Monitoring report forms will be provided upon project approval.
- Neighborhood Relations encourages applicants to combine this project with installation of micro-irrigation through the Low Volume Irrigation Mini-grant Program.
- Road right of way plantings will require technical review and the issuance of a Right of Way Use Permit by Public Works Department. A copy of the Permit must be provided at the signing of the Letter of Understanding.
- A specific area that the applicant represents must be identified and evidence of local resident involvement and concurrence will be required.
The size of the trees must be appropriate to the proposed location. The trees must be chosen from a list of trees adapted to Hillsborough County. Only 50% of the Tree Program Mini-Grant awarded monies may be spent on shrubs (hedge material). Palms will not be covered under this grant.