GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ Southtown neighborhood is a little greener, thanks to roughly 200 volunteers.

Community members joined Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and volunteers from the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Friday and Saturday to plant 200 trees and give away 50 more. The event is part of Bliss’ greening initiative to plant 10,000 trees in the next few years and grow Grand Rapids’ urban tree canopy to 40%.

Stacy Bare, executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, says the improvements go beyond providing more shade.

“There’s a lot of real economic benefit to people having trees, but the real benefit that we see is just the larger emotional health and mental health,” she said.

The Friends of Grand Rapids Parks says Grand Rapids is home to approximately 30,000 tree vacancies.

For more information about the greening initiative, visit