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Our History

Many of the mature street trees we enjoy today in Center City West were planted in
1990’s by an energetic CCRA group. In 1991 Cecily Kihn, a landscape architect, founded the Center City Greening Project (CCGP) under the auspices of CCRA with help from Kathryn
Newland and Barbara Olejnik of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). The early
participants included Sally Frazza, Judith Parker, Beverly Briggs, Bob Davidson, Susan Hale and Peter Miller. They began by embarking on a block by block campaign to survey the condition and scope of the neighborhood tree population. Working with volunteers who included students, landscape architects and residents, the group conducted an inventory of all the trees between the Schuylkill River to Broad, Market to South Streets. They documented tree species, size and condition of 2200 trees which formed the basis of a comprehensive computer database. An analysis of this data provided the plan for planting projects carried out over the course of the next eight years. During that time, CCGP planted nearly 200 street trees and oversaw the pruning of many more. Their efforts were funded with grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PECO and Pew Charitable Trusts as well as contributions from neighbors. CCGP disbanded in 1999.


At this time, Lenora Berson, an early CCRA president, took over the responsibility of responding to street tree applications. In 2009 Derek Freres organized the first neighborhood Tree Tender group. Several Friends of Schuylkill Park (FSRP) board members, Derek Freres, Carolyn Duffy, and Sally Frazza, trained as PHS Tree Tenders and formed the FSRP Tree Tenders. Carolyn Duffy led the group until 2016 when she moved out of the neighborhood at which time Susan Kahn took over the leadership. The Tree Tender group came full circle when it made its way back to CCRA in the fall of 2021.

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