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 Trees are located near a transmission tower. ITC Holdings Corp. has a Right Tree, Right Place program that issues guidelines for what types of plant life are safe near power lines.

Trees are located near a transmission tower. ITC Holdings Corp. has a Right Tree, Right Place program that issues guidelines for what types of plant life are safe near power lines.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Sterling Heights to plant trees with ITC donation

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 7, 2019


STERLING HEIGHTS — The drive to make Sterling Heights greener continues.

During a July 16 City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool announced that the city has received a donation to reforest parts of Sterling Heights’ parks. 

The donation comes from ITC Holdings Corp., which oversees the transmission towers at the ITC corridor, which runs through Sterling Heights.

Vanderpool said the donation ties into city efforts to reforest the city and fulfill a sustainability campaign.

“Each year, ITC funds a program called Right Tree, Right Place,” Vanderpool said. “And this is the third year in a row that we have received funding through this program stemming from an agreement with ITC to remove trees and overgrowth in the South Clinton River Park that would be potentially harmful to the overhead distribution lines,” he said.

According to Vanderpool, the city allocated prior funds toward replacing or adding trees around the skate park near the library, as well as at Hampton, Arlingdale and Dodge parks. 

Vanderpool said ITC’s new $6,000 donation for 2019 will go toward tree plantings at Baumgartner Park, near the parking lot and athletic fields. He said Meadowview Park will get some attention because it’s a “historically wet area.”

“These trees, of course, help dry out those areas,” he said.

According to ITC’s website, Right Tree, Right Place is part of a larger vegetation management campaign that the company does to foster public safety and reliable power delivery.

“Tree interference with transmission lines is a leading cause of electric power outages and poses a safety threat to the public. Our society depends upon electricity, so the loss of power can bring daily life to a halt,” the website states.

Under Right Tree, Right Place, ITC says it works with property owners to make sure that trees and greenery near transmission lines will not lead to hazards or disruptions. Sometimes trees need to be removed as a result, so the donations are a way to replenish the local plantlife.

Donna Zalewski, ITC’s director of local government, community affairs and philanthropy, offered some more information on the ITC grants in an emailed statement.

“ITC is proud to support the city of Sterling Heights with planting grants over the last three years to increase the city’s tree canopy and to encourage community members to plant the right trees in the right places,” she said.

Zalewski said the program works with communities and homeowners to inform them about shrubbery and foliage that are safe in close proximity to power lines.

“Planting the right tree in the right place, away from power lines, can help conserve energy by providing wind protection, shade and cool air,” she said. “This can add beauty, privacy and wildlife habitat to the landscape while also protecting the safety and reliability of the transmission system.” 

ITC Michigan spokeswoman Kelly Fulford said ITC’s 2019 donations should make it possible for Sterling Heights to plant around 18 trees by autumn. She added that the Arbor Day Foundation has honored ITC in Michigan for 13 years as a Tree Line USA Utility.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489. Find out more about ITC Holdings Corp. by visiting