By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth Vice Mayor Kevin W. Johnson said next week people will start seeing trees being planted on Chillicothe Street.
“The trees we ordered last year will be planted along Chillicothe to replace where trees have died or whatever,” Johnson said. “And what we’re working on next is Second Street.”
Johnson said he was able to convince Portsmouth City Council to re-instate $5,000 that had been cut out of the budget to the Tree Commission to get the city back to a status they had held for 30 years, but had missed over the last several years.
“It is a recognition of our effort to keep our trees and maintain them,” Johnson said.
Members of the Portsmouth Shade Tree Commission meet once a month and have been working hard to get the designation back for our City and have finally succeeded as on March 28, 2014, the City recaptured their designation as a Tree City USA at the annual Tree City USA award ceremony held in Marietta, Ohio.
“It’s a big deal,” Johnson said. “It’s a national recognition through the Arbor Day organization. It’s aimed at beautification and sustainability in our cities. Let’s face it. A city is boring without trees.”
Participation in the Tree City USA program helps residents feel good about the place they live and work. Annual recognition shows visitors and prospective residents that trees, conservation and the environment are an important part of life in the community. Pride in public trees also leads to more engaged residents and better care for new and existing trees on private property.
Tree City USA participation presents an opportunity to educate the public about your community’s urban forestry program and showcase the benefits of community trees. Recognition can also generate interest from other organizations and communities that aren’t yet managing their trees as well as they might. As one forester put it, “This is advertising that money can’t buy — and it is free!”
Tree boards, parks departments, public works officials and volunteers, alike, are recognized for the valuable work they provide to the community through sustainable tree management. Many communities share in their Tree City USA recognition across city departments, elected officials, volunteers, students and business leaders.
Annual participation as a Tree City USA community provides the opportunity to educate people who care about their community about the value of tree resources, the importance of sustainable tree management and engage individuals and organizations in advancing tree planting and care across the urban forest. Tree City USA status can create a strong working relationship with your state forestry agency and other conservation groups
The Shade Tree Commission along with the Portsmouth City Service Department will be planting trees the week of April 14th and there will be an Arbor Day proclamation given by Mayor Steve Sturgill. Anyone wishing to become a volunteer or if you have an organization that would like to help with projects, please contact the Shade Tree Commission or the Portsmouth City Clerk at 740-354-4706.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt