Hundreds of trees to take root in downtown Columbia

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Downtown Columbia is set to become a sea of pink next spring with the planting of 100 trees through a partnership between Columbia’s master developer Howard Hughes Corp. and local nonprofit Blossoms of Hope.

The trees, a mix of native dogwoods and Kwanzan cherries, are known for their pink flowers that bloom in the spring, creating a “day of pink snow,” Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty said at a tree planting for the project on Tuesday. The area stretching from Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods to the Lake Kittamaqundi lakefront will now be filled with the flowery snowflakes thanks to the joint project.

Approximately $4,250 from the fundraising for the tree planting will go toward Howard County General Hospital’s Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, said Becky Mangus, a board member for Blossoms of Hope. Blossoms of Hope works throughout Howard County to plant trees as beautification projects and to raise awareness surrounding breast cancer.

This is the first of three sets of 100 trees that will be planted in the area surrounding Merriweather Post Pavilion each fall for the next two years, according to Blossoms of Hope spokeswoman Vera Simmons. In addition, Howard Hughes is planning to plant 10,000 trees in Howard County over the next 20 years, according to Greg Fitchitt, vice president for development at Howard Hughes.

Fitchitt said Howard Hughes reached out to Blossoms of Hope in the spring about a possible partnership as part of its larger effort to plant trees in the county. This is the first partnership between the two organizations.

Joe Barbera, board chairman for Blossoms of Hope, spoke at the tree planting about the special quality of the trees to beautify the county and show the “beauty of life beginning again” as they bloom each spring. The organization has planted over 2,000 trees across the county since its founding in 2004.

“Every spring these trees and the work of Blossoms of Hope will be remembered,” Sigaty said.

This story has been updated.

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