By Amanda Amsel
Landscaping Franklin Township and the Hollywood Casino invested in several years ago has been saved thanks to the effort of Franklin Township.
After a request from Friends of Hilltop, the 194 trees that line West Broad Street were recently fed thanks to a donation by Franklin Township.
“The township paid $1,568 for materials and supplies to save these trees,” said Dan Downing, vice president and environmental impact chairman for Friends of the Hilltop. “The township will pay this in two installments between now and spring.”
In 2013, the township partnered with the casino to plant 213 trees along West Broad Street. Currently, only 194 trees are left and were about to perish.
“The trees are supposed to be fertilized every year because they are in a high traffic area. That is rough on them,” Downing said. “However, they had not been fertilized since they were planted in 2013 and were not in good shape. They were deteriorating and if they were not fed we were going to start losing them at a high rate by spring.”
Maintaining and feeding the trees is not the responsibility of Franklin Township, according to Downing. In 2013, the township partnered with ODOT to create mediums and landscaping on Georgesville Road, during this partnership the township also planted these trees with the help of financing from the casino.
However, in a rush to complete the project, no maintenance agreement was signed by the township, therefore they have no responsibility to maintain the property, including treating the trees. The trees have been neglected, along with the medium landscaping the township invested in.
“When we noticed how bad these trees were, we asked the state to pay to feed them since there was not an agreement with Franklin Township,” Downing said. “The state refused to pay and in the last hour Franklin Township found some excess funds in their maintenance department and came to rescue.”
Friends of the Hilltop is managing the feeding of the trees and simply needed the funds to buy the materials to proceed. This collaboration with Friends of the Hilltop is an ongoing relationship between the township and the nonprofit organization. Currently, the group also mows several properties for the township and cleans trash up on township property.
“Basically we are non-paid workers for the township,” Downing said. “We have an agreement that allows us, as a private organization, to do work on public grounds. We are the only nonprofit in Franklin County that has this authority.”
Downing said they are grateful to Franklin Township for stepping up to the plate when everyone else said no.
“We want to thank the leaders of Franklin Township for saving these trees,” Downing said. “We know money is tight in the township, so we appreciate them going the extra distance with this project. Saving these trees will benefit the township and the entire westside, so we are truly grateful.”
For more information on the Friends of the Hilltop and the trees on West Broad Street, visit www.friendsofthehilltop.com.