Saturday, November 25th, 2017
Back into the woods
City looks to restore trees in parklands
By William Kincaid
Some of the trees recently donated by Mercer County Sportsmen's Association will. . .
CELINA - City officials plan to plant new trees in Celina's parks in the coming years to replace those lost due to storm damage and the destructive emerald ash borer and to further beautify outdoor areas enjoyed by the public.
"My goal would be at a minimum, I'd like to see us put up about 20 trees a year in the parks ... because I think we can sustain that," mayor Jeff Hazel told the newspaper recently. "And I've got a list of people that have started talking about donating trees."
The Mercer County Sportsmen's Association recently offered to donate 40 oaks trees, Hazel said, adding that some have already been transplanted in Eastview Park while more will be added next year.
"When they planted the trees (at the Sportsman's Association), they didn't realize how thick they would grow and you can't have trees that close together, so we are the beneficiary of it," Hazel said
He estimated the value of some of the trees at as much as $1,500 apiece.
"Because they're hardwoods and when they're 20 feet tall, that's pretty significant," Hazel enthused.
Many of the oak trees will be transplanted along the walking path that encircles the Eastview Park's pond.
"That's where all those trees (suffering) from emerald ash borer had to be removed," city safety service director Tom Hitchcock pointed out.
Others, though, will be added to Bryson Park District. Councilors in April officially established the long-discussed park district, which encompasses Mercelina, Pullman Bay and Lakeshore parks as well as the former Versa Pak and mobile home sites.
"However, we've got to get more construction done before we can do too much planting out there," he said, pointing to VTF Excavation's ongoing groundwork for the new Harley Jones Rotary Memorial Amphitheater, the planned centerpiece of the new Bryson Park District.
Overall, though, Hazel said there is no master plan but insisted that he "wants to see more of a reforestation of the parks."
"We don't want just any tree. We want to be smart about how we move forward with it," he said. "The tree should be native to the area, something that's hardy. Nothing that's going to (drop) some kind of a berry or seed that creates a problem for people or their kids, so they're not tracking it on the carpet."
Hitchcock said 22 trees, mostly red maples, were lost around Montgomery Field during the recent tornado.
Also, scores of trees were removed after falling victim to emerald ash borer over the years.
In September 2014, Hazel estimated 200 ash trees in Eastview Park were afflicted by the emerald ash borer.
After a tornado rolled through in April 2011, then mayor Sharon LaRue estimated that more than 60 tree were removed from city-owned land.
Also in 2014, city council members had mulled over the idea of adding a hotel tax to pay for a tree-management program and adding a volunteer tree commission to replenish and maintain the city parks.
However, the idea soon fizzled out and never materialized.