Clearly the city is facing significant economic challenges that require all expenses to be scrutinized. However, shaving $2.5 million from an already cash-strapped Department of Parks and Recreation will severely curtail the city's implementation of one of its most important goals - planting 300,000 new trees by 2015 - and, in doing so, prolong environmental and economic benefits for our residents.

The benefits associated with investing in tree planting far outweigh the costs. Trees lower temperatures in the summer, reduce storm water runoff, and increase property values. They absorb pollutants and create a unique sense of place and feeling of pride in our communities.

Philadelphia must invest in its public environment if it expects to attract and retain residents and businesses, to grow as an international destination for tourists, and to thrive as a livable city that can compete in the global marketplace.

The Commission on Parks and Recreation urges City Council and the administration to do everything possible to find sources of revenue that will avoid this devastating cut.

Nancy Goldenberg and Pete Hoskins

Commission on Parks and Recreation