Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — The city of Peoria kicked off its 38th annual Arbor Day tree planting Friday morning by partnering with the South-West Kiwanis Club Of Peoria and the Peoria Park District.

They planted a ceremonial Green Vase Zelkova tree at Riverfront Festival Park near the gateway building.

It’s all about Peoria’s commitment to promoting urban forestry and expanding the city’s green footprint.

Nick McMillion with the Department of Public Works said they were all happy to be there Friday to plant a tree and help make the city more beautiful.

“Trees are just so important throughout the city and the urban landscape,” said McMillion. “Trees provide so many beautification factors. And it’s a great thing for the city, they provide shade — they provide benefits.”

According to McMillion, the city was excited to continue the Arbor Day tradition of planting as many trees as possible.

David Johnson with Kiwanis Club said the Green Vase is a pretty tree that grows quickly and adds a nice accent to the riverfront.

He said planting trees all over the city dates back to 1986 and being there today was a continuation of their environmental commitment.

To pull this off, Johnson said it takes coordination with the city and the park district.

“We offer them a tree and if they have a place to put it — somehow they always find a place to put it,” said Johnson. “So we pay for the tree and they provide the manpower to dig the hole.”

Johnson said it was a perfect day — beautiful sunshine, dry ground and a good location for the tree planting.