By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport City Councilman Scott Lockett has planted the seed for an idea that he hopes will grow more trees in the city.
At Groveport City Council’s Jan. 14 meeting, Lockett suggested the city consider planting its own tree farm on the open, grassy city-owned land near to and southeast of Degenhart Park. He said the tree farm would provide a variety trees for the city to use and plant throughout town.
“It’s a nice big area,” said Lockett of the site, adding that, because the city plants a lot of trees, “I think if we had our own tree farm we could save on expenses. We could grow evergreens, shrubs, and all sorts of other kinds of trees. We’re a Tree City U.S.A. We could do this.”
Lockett said the tree farm could also have educational uses for the local schools.
“Kids from the schools could come to the tree farm and study the trees and learn about the different kinds of bark and leaves and also what trees mean to the environment,” said Lockett. “It ties right in with our annual Arbor Day tree planting program with the schools.”
Lockett said the city could also explore the idea of selling excess trees in the tree farm to residents.
He added that, if in the future, the land were to be developed, the tree farm could be easily removed.
According to Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall, the city planted 125 trees around the city last year.
Hall said the city is planning to contract, for approximately 10 hours per month, with a certified arborist who will work with the city on its tree program. She said the amount of the arborist’s contract is still to be determined.
Lockett said the arborist, in addition to other duties, could help design and plan the layout for the proposed tree farm.
Under the tree fund in the city’s 2019 budget, $20,000 is alloted for operating supplies and $113,450 for contingency. Under the 2018 budget, the tree fund had $30,000 for operating supplies and $130,157 for contingency.
“Operating supplies include items purchased or projects under $50,000 in the operations of the fund,” said Hall. “The money in the contingency line item is available to use and can be moved within the fund once the purchase is approved. The tree fund is specific in what can be spent from the fund – primarily the purchase, installation and removal of street trees. The revenue for this fund comes from new developments.”
When asked, on average, how much the city usually spends on trees per year,
Hall said, “I can’t give you an average. It depends on if we just replace miscellaneous dead trees or if we’re replacing an entire street’s trees.”
The city’s 2019 budget under Community Affairs also lists $31,500 for trees and decorations in 2019.
When asked what these funds are used for, Hall said, “Projects undertaken by the trees and decorations committee, including Main Street flags and poles, Christmas decorations and equipment to install them, Halloween city activities, Arbor Day activities, purchase of items the trees and decorations committee needs for Apple Butter Day, and items under the committee’s responsibility for parks.”
The city’s trees and decorations committee will explore and discuss Lockett’s idea for a tree farm and provide information to city council at a future date for council’s review.