Utica, NY (WIBX) - Under-served neighborhoods in Utica and Rome are the focus of a new state funded Urban Forestry Grant project.

The $25,000 grant will be used to buy trees and mulch, while the two cities match the grant with in-kind services.

Beginning on Earth Day, both cities will start planting trees in urban revitalization areas, and Brownfield Opportunity Areas. In Utica, targets include West Street, Park Avenue and the Parkway.

Volunteers for Utica, Rome, the Genesis Group, Rome Clean and Green, and Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful will assist city crews in the work. Other assistance will come from Rust 2 Green.

Utica mayor, Rob Palmieri, says by combining their efforts to apply for the grant, Utica and Rome were both able to benefit.

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

"The pool of money is less," Palmieri said. "So, we have to put our heads together, and sometimes the theory is people are looking for communities to come together and the ability to get more money by doing that. That's what the philosophy of the governor is, that's what me and the Mayor [of Rome] are doing. I think our relationship has been great since day one."

Rome mayor, Joe Fusco, agrees.

"I think it's critical that we work together because, as Rob said, the Governor is looking for people to work together, group together, on projects," Fusco said. "This project is going to mean dollars for our bottom line. It's going to help our revenue stream, and it's something that the two of us are working on and struggling with every day."

By planting trees along streets and in parks, the mayors say pollution will be reduced, property values will increase and their cities will be a more attractive.