Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Bailey Taylor, a Canyon Rim Academy first-grader, helps plant a pine tree during an Arbor Day Celebration at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City Friday, April 29, 2011. Bailey was one of the winners in a 2011 Arbor Day Poster Contest.

TAYLORSVILLE — Mayor Russ Wall has wanted to see Taylorsville listed as part of the Tree City USA program since taking office in 2006.

Today, it is.

City leaders officially accepted the award Wednesday night as Taylorsville became the 77th Utah city and one of thousands across the nation to be honored for its commitment to urban forestry.

"We knew our budget was tight, and we worried about the cost to accomplish this," Wall said. "Luckily, we were able to trade volunteer hours with monetary investment to qualify. We couldn't have accomplished this without our great volunteers."

Cities must meet four standards to be designated as a Tree City: Create a tree board or department; prepare a tree-care ordinance; establish a comprehensive community forestry program; and observe Arbor Day with a proclamation.

Taylorsville's Leisure, Activities, Recreation and Parks Committee spearheaded the volunteer effort. Chairwoman Rhetta McIff and other committee members applied for grants, found discounts on trees and rallied hundreds of volunteers to meet the requirements.

"I appreciate the work (the committee) has done over the years in bringing parks and trails, and to build civic pride and identity through the use of trees," said Scott Zeidler, a community forester with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands. "We appreciate the good work that Taylorsville has done over the years."

Salt Lake County's One Million Trees for One Million People project, launched in 2007 in an effort to see 1 million trees added to the county landscape by 2017, acted as a springboard for the Taylorsville effort, McIff said.

The city's goal is to plant 60,000 trees over the 10-year period, she said.

Volunteers obtained trees and planted them in six of the nine elementary schools in Taylorsville. Trees also were planted as part of the city's Redwood Road beautification project, and dozens of volunteers worked along the Jordan River cleaning out unhealthy trees.

On Saturday, Taylorsville is teaming up with JetBlue Airways for a "Go Green" Arbor Day event. City volunteers and JetBlue employees will be planting trees and building garden boxes for the new Community Gardens at City Center at 5400 South and 2700

West, beginning at 9 a.m.

The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs.

In 1977, Murray became the first Utah city to be recognized in the Tree City USA program. Other cities with more than 20 years on the list include Springville (32 years), Ogden (27), Provo (27), Logan (26), Brigham City (25), Salt Lake City (23), Wellsville (23) and Price (21).