CATHEDRAL CITY — In the next two years, 1,000 new trees are expected to be part of this community’s environmental fabric as they take root in residential, commercial, industrial and parkland areas.

It is only one of the goals Mayor Gregory S. Pettis outlined during his inauguration on Dec. 10. He did so to an audible gasp of delight in the City Council Chambers.

“I am working with the Public Works Division,” Pettis told Uken Report. “My only requirement of them is that they be shade trees and mature trees, not seedlings.”

The estimated cost of each tree is $35. Money for the project will come from grants, business donors, and individual donors, Pettis said.

The idea for the planting was born out of longstanding disgruntlement.

“Over the years various council members have complained about no shade, but no one stepped up,” Pettis said. “They will be used for shade, a softening of the streetscape and continuing our efforts on the environment.”

The trees are expected to start being planted by early spring. City staff will plant them on city-owned land and public right of way.  Trees for the residential neighborhoods will be delivered and dropped off at private property and owners will be responsible for planting them.

With 1,000 additional trees in the community, Cathedral City could become a Tree City USA.

In February, the Arbor Day Foundation announced the city of Indio as a Tree City USA for the 11th consecutive year. Currently, Indio, the largest community in the Coachella Valley, is the only Tree City USA in the Valley. Among 482 municipalities in California, 172 are recognized as a Tree City USA Community.

“It is an honor for me to recognize the city’s commitment to sustainability as the only Tree City USA Community in the Coachella Valley,” then-Mayor Michael H. Wilson said. “Our trees not only provide shade, cut cooling/heating costs, and cleanse the air, but they also increase property values and help beautify our neighborhoods.”