Sterling Heights has won 'Tree City USA' award 28 straight years

Sterling Heights has won 'Tree City USA' award 28 straight years

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Buds on a tree in Sterling Heights.  The Detroit suburb has been received the "Tree City USA" award 28 straight years. Buds on a tree in Sterling Heights. The Detroit suburb has been received the "Tree City USA" award 28 straight years.
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WJBK) -

Tree trimmers were hard at work in Sterling Heights on Monday maintaining the trees that help make the city beautiful.

For more than two dozen years, Sterling Heights has received the Tree City USA award from the National Arbor Foundation.  The program recognizes communities with a commitment to forestry, caring for and maintaining trees.

"We're a major municipal community and suburban community, and we do have a large forest here that runs alongside the Clinton River," said Steve Guitar, the city's community relations director.  "You go back there and it's like being up north."

Guitar said last year the city spent about half a million dollars on forestry to maintain more than 4,000 trees and plant 200 new ones.

"It improves our quality of life.  It improves the aesthetics of the neighborhood.  It keeps property values up, and I think it really enhances our neighborhoods," Guitar said.

What's more, trees increase property values, and they absorb carbon dioxide and put out oxygen.  The Arbor Day Foundation says they can even help stimulate the economy by attracting new business and tourism.

Sterling Heights has a forester in the Public Works Department and a tree replacement program.  The city also has a tree preservation ordinance that requires developers to preserve a large percentage of trees or replace those lost during construction.

"We were one of the first in the state to have that ordinance in place, so we've been honored for that in the past," Guitar said.

The city is also proud to have started a new curbside recycling program this spring.  The mayor says Sterling Heights cares about the environment and providing a good quality of life for its residents.

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