New Bedford has been added to a group of cities taking part in a statewide tree planting initiative.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs announced that New Bedford, Brockton, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynn, Leominster, Pittsfield and Quincy will be part of the expansion of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program.

In support of the program the Commonwealth will invest over $12 million in energy efficiency and state capital funds to plant 20,000 trees within the eight gateway cities.

The trees will average six feet in height and the funds will be dispersed over a three year period.

Officials say the goal of the program is to increase the urban tree canopy to 5-10 percent in select neighborhoods in each Gateway City.

As a result officials say heating and cooling costs will be reduced by approximately $230 a year for an average household, once the trees reach maturity.

Residents who participate in the the program will be given planted trees at no cost in exchange for agreeing to water the trees for two summers.

To learn more about the program click here.

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