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Kokomo Replanting Trees In Tornado-Damaged Neighborhoods

City partnering with DNR and several nonprofits to replace 120 trees Saturday afternoon

Photo: Annie Ropeik/Indiana Public Media

The trees will be replanted in neighborhoods where others were uprooted during the tornado.

The City of Kokomo this weekend will plant trees in areas where many were uprooted when a tornado came through the community last year.

The project is in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Dallas-based nonprofit RETREET.

RETREET founder and executive director Grady McGahan says the group has carried out multiple replanting efforts in other tornado-stricken cities across the country, including Oklahoma City and Joplin, Missouri.

“We’ve actually executed some very large-scale projects in those cities akin to what the need is here in Kokomo that we hope will be a three-year commitment by our organization and partners,” McGahan says.

In a press release, the City of Kokomo highlights the importance of restoring damaged landscapes in the wake of a disaster, but also the frequent difficulty residents face in securing time and money to do so.

Volunteers will plant 120 trees free of charge on 66 home sites affected by the EF3 tornado. McGahan says RETREET consulted with the DNR in selecting native species.

Commenting on the trees’ physical size, McGahan says, “These are not saplings; they actually are identifiable as full trees that are years into their growth cycle. So we want to make an immediate visual impact in the community.”

The planting effort kicks off at noon Saturday in Kokomo’s Highland Park.

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