See which groups will split $25,000 ‘climate protection’ prize for Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — On Arbor Day in April, Mayor George Heartwell named his inaugural Tree of the Year in Grand Rapids. A city budget approved this week includes funding to supplement a grant for planting trees in street right-of-ways.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that half of the $25,000 prize Heartwell got last week from the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be allocated to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks…for tree planting.

RELATED: Crowd-sourced Grand Rapids tree map to monetize city canopy

The other half will go the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, a Grand Rapids non-profit whose executive director appeared in a video that showcased the city’s energy initiatives to U.S. mayors in Orlando last week. See the video here.

WMEAC will use the money to create a community resiliency plan aimed at preparing Grand Rapids for climate changes and energy volatility. Some initiatives related to that broad plan will be introduced to donors at a fundraiser next week.

RELATED: Two views on Grand Rapids storm water fees: residents and readers weigh in

One of WMEAC’s current projects involves working with Grand Rapids on a plan for storm sewer maintenance. City Commission on July 24 will hear a recommendation for a storm water user fee to fund costs of the system.

Email Matt Vande Bunte, or follow him on Twitter.

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